A landmark case about metadata in Australia has challenged the scope of Australian privacy laws, overruled the privacy commissioner, and left practitioners with questions. Anna Johnston writes for Privacy Tracker about a court case that began by trying to determine whether journalist Ben Grubb was identifiable from geolocation data held by Telstra, and ended in the Federal Court's determination that "the phrase 'about an individual' is an important element in the definition of personal information," writes Johnston. While the Federal Court agreed with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruling that "personal information must be 'about' an individual and that individual’s identity must be reasonably ascertainable," it also left the door open to a more expansive view than that of the AAT. What we still don't know is whether Ben Grubb's metadata is, in fact, personal information.
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