On 12 January 2017, the Privacy Commissioner issued an interim report regarding a forensic audit of the mobile telephones of certain Victorian politicians and public servants being undertaken at the request or direction of the Premier of Victoria. The audit was in response to the apparent leak of information regarding an increase in police numbers to the radio journalist, Mr Neil Mitchell. The interim report is Attachment 1.
In the interim report, the commissioner advised that the office would continue investigating this matter, despite the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) having issued a certificate under s79(3) of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (PDPA), claiming cabinet confidentiality in the information that had been formally sought from the premier about the forensic audit. The commissioner also urged any person who had information relevant to the inquiry to come forward.
This final report:
• provides an account of the circumstances as they are understood;
• discusses issues relevant to those circumstances;
• provides relevant documentation for public scrutiny; and
• discusses how legislation permits or encourages the commissioner to respond.
In preparing this report, the commissioner has had careful regard to the objects of the PDPA, including balancing open access to public sector information with the public interest in protecting its security and to promote:
• awareness of responsible personal information handling practices;
• responsible and transparent handling of personal information; and
• responsible data security practices in the public sector.