ANZLIC is working to improve the quality and accessibility of public sector spatial data and encourage the development of an innovative and competitive spatial information industry. Above all, ANZLIC fosters responsible management of this critical national resource. ANZLIC recognizes that advances in information technology are fuelling community concern about the impact on privacy; and is striving to ensure that the benefits from easier access to, and better utilization of, spatial information are realized without adding to this concern. Almost all government agencies are required to comply with privacy laws or government directives on the handling of personal information. The rest soon will be. While similar in many respects, the standards differ from one jurisdiction to the next. The ANZLIC Privacy Best Practice Guidelines reflect the highest standards across all jurisdictions. By developing and implementing these Best Practice Guidelines, we aim to:
Technological developments that have enabled government agencies to make public sector spatial information more widely available, cheaper to access, and of better quality; have also fuelled concerns about privacy.
These concerns are not directed at the handling of spatial information in particular — surveys of community attitudes show widespread anxiety about the general impact of technology on all areas of our lives. ANZLIC recognized the trend in 1992 when it produced its first privacy issues discussion paper. Now privacy laws and rules are established features of the environment within which the spatial information industry operates — not just nationally, but internationally as well. These Guidelines have been produced in support of the intention of the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) to establish an Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure. They replace a previous ANZLIC publication ‘Discussion paper No 1 Data Custodianship/Trusteeship’ April 1990. This paper addresses specific practical issues in implementing and managing the principles of custodianship in order to better integrate spatial information.
The custodian principle has been adopted by the ANZLIC as the means of ensuring accountability for the care and maintenance of information within the public sector. As such the guidelines are very much focussed on the needs of public sector custodians. In the future, it is entirely possible that private sector organizations will become responsible for public datasets under a contractual arrangement. these guidelines will be adapted to address that as the need arises. The guidelines are based on experience and can be seen as a matter of good practice, convention and convenience. It is simply the only way that data can be managed in an orderly fashion. Private sector organizations are encouraged to consider these guidelines for their internal data management needs. The principle of custodianship assigns to an agency certain rights and responsibilities for the collection of spatial information and the management of this on behalf of the community. The rights and responsibilities include the right to set marketing conditions for the information and responsibilities regarding the maintenance and quality of the information. It also ensures accessibility of the information and provides a recognized contact point for the distribution, transfer, and sharing of the information.