Correcting information

Contributed by CarolineNorrington and current to 1 May 2016

You can apply to correct or amend personal information about yourself held by a NT public sector organisation or Federal agency ( NTIA s 31, FOIA s 48). NT organisations do not have to correct information that is historical only. The 'correction' may involve amendment, deletion or addition to your personal information. You may apply to have personal information corrected on the basis that it is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date (and under the FOIA, misleading).

How to apply

You should apply in writing to the NT Government organisation or Federal agency that holds the information. For NT organisations, the application must provide the following information:
  • your name and an address for correspondence
  • enough detail to identify the information you want to have corrected
  • details of why you believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date (if possible include documents to support this)
  • the correction you want to make.
The requirements for applications to Federal agencies are similar ( FOIA s 49).

There is no fee for making an application to correct your personal information.

What happens next?

The organisation or agency has 30 days to make a decision on your application and provide you with a written notice of decision. This period may be extended under certain circumstances. The organisation may decide to make the correction you have specified, make a different correction, or refuse to correct the information. If the organisation does not make the correction, you are entitled to request the organisation to take reasonable steps to associate with the information a statement of your opinion that the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date ( NTIA ss 34-35; FOIA ss 51-51B).

Internal and external review

If you are unhappy with the decision of the organisation you can apply for internal review. If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal review, your rights to complain and appeal are essentially the same as those discussed in the Freedom of Information section in this handbook.

Further information

If an NT Government organisation has not taken reasonable steps to make sure the information it keeps about you is accurate, complete, and up to date, this may also be a breach of Information Privacy Principle 3 and you can request the information be corrected within a reasonable time under Information Privacy Principle 6 ( NTIA Sch 2). Federal Government agencies and many private businesses have similar obligations under the Privacy Act (see Schedule 1, APP 10 and 13).

The NT and Federal privacy schemes establish an alternative to Freedom of Information correction in relation to personal information only.

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