What is Personal Information ?

The Information Privacy Act 2009 regulates how personal information is handled. This Act defines Personal Information as:

"…information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion."

As per the Office of Information Commissioner for Queensland, personal information can be almost any information associated with an identifiable living individual, and includes correspondence, audio recordings, images, alpha-numerical identifiers and combinations of these. 

For information to be personal information, it must be about an individual, and the individuals identity must be reasonable ascertainable from the information or opinion. 

Examples of personal information:

  • A person's name, address, phone number or email address
  • A photograph of a person
  • Video footage of a person (such as CCTV or otherwise)
  • Details of a person's land ownership of disputes regarding their land
  • The author of a report
  • A person's name appearing in work documents
  • A letter written in a person's official capacity, such as a letter from the president of a club
  • Details of whether a person is a member, leader, or affiliate with an association and details of their attendance at meetings
  • A patient's medical details or information on their health
  • Details about the religious or sexual preferences of an individual
  • Details of membership with a trade union or professional body