In Tasmania, privacy is regulated by the Right to Information Act 2009 which is covered in the ‘Right to Information’ section, and the Personal Information Protection Act 2004. Other legislation that impacts on privacy includes the Telecommunications (Interception) Tasmania Act 1999, the Police Powers (Controlled Operations) Act 2006, and the Police Powers (Surveillance Devices) Act 2008.

The Tasmanian Ombudsman investigates complaints concerning all of these acts, and also reviews decisions issued under the Right to Information Act.

Privacy is important in all areas of the law, including the criminal law. It is a balance between the interests of the state in preventing and punishing crime, and the rights of citizens, no matter whether they are under investigation for possible criminal offences. Just as personal information held by government bodies is protected from general and unregulated dissemination, so is information held by the police where that information has been obtained by an invasion of privacy, such as by use of a surveillance device. Rights of access to such information are diminished because of the necessity of the administration of justice, in contrast to the access permitted to private citizens seeking disclosure from government authorities concerning their personal information.

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