Can other people access information about me or my business?
It depends on what the information is and whether it is exempt.
A person may apply to an agency for access to documents that include information about you. If this happens, you are known as a ‘third party’ to the access application.
The information may be of two kinds:
- personal information about you; or
- commercial, business, professional or financial information about you, your company or your business.
If the personal information is about you as a private individual, that information is likely to be exempt and people would not usually be able to get access to it (clause 3). If you are a government officer and the information relates to what you do in your job, people are likely to get access to that information. If the information is about your business, that information may be disclosed depending on the consequences of giving it out (clause 4).
If an agency is proposing to give another person access to a document containing information about you, before doing so it must take steps to seek your views about whether the information is exempt (sections 32 and 33).
If the agency decides to give a person access to your information against your wishes, it must inform you in writing of the reasons for its decision and of your rights to have its decision reviewed (section 34). You have the right to apply for review of the agency’s decision. There are time limits associated with applying for review of a decision. The agency must not give access to the documents until the time for you to exercise your rights of review has expired.