CSIRO Investigation – Is your Privacy in Jeopardy?
Victims of CSIRO have recently become aware that the CSIRO have yet again “fiddled” with the terms under which its Investigation into Workplace Bullying is being conducted.
However, this time the changes are far more insidious and pose a flagrant violation of the privacy of the individuals who have provided submissions to the investigator in the belief that their individual submissions will not be provided to CSIRO.
The Privacy Statement published in relation to the investigation has been modified in the following manner:
At commencement of the investigation, the Privacy Statement contained the following paragraph:
“CSIRO will not be collecting any personal information directly from individuals making submissions to HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.”
However, the following change was published on the CSIRO website yesterday:
“CSIRO will be co‐operating with HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and the Independent Investigator to facilitate their consideration and investigation of submissions (“Investigation”). CSIRO will receive personal information from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and the Independent Investigator or while working with HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and the Independent Investigator during the Investigation.”
If you have already been contacted by the investigator seeking your consent to a change of the privacy terms, you should also consider whether it is pertinent to formally withdraw your consent by writing to the Investigator, particularly if you have not been fully informed of the ramifications of agreeing to the changed policy, i.e. your submission will be provided to CSIRO.
Should you discover that your personal information has been disclosed to an unauthorised third party without your expressed consent, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (AOIC) under the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988.
Coupled with at least three significant previous changes to the published Terms of Reference under which the investigation team were initially bound to operate, it is no wonder that serious concerns about the conduct of the investigation are being raised.
When the Investigator inappropriately attempts to publicly vilify those raising concerns rather than responding to the criticisms in a reasonable and constructive manner, there is serious cause for concern.
One must seriously question the benefit to the Australian Tax Payer for what is likely to be an exorbitantly priced investigation when the “independent” investigator in a workplace bullying investigation will not even make a determination on whether the complaints under investigation constitute workplace bullying!