[Pursuant to the Privacy Act 1988 (Information Privacy Principle 11.1(d) and (e))]

Personal information held by the Department may be disclosed to Australian law enforcement agencies and other Australian government agencies where such disclosure is in compliance with the Privacy Act 1988. The relevant provisions are, Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 11.1(d), which applies where disclosure of personal information is required or authorised by or under law, and IPP 11.1(e), which applies where disclosure of personal information is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law, or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of public revenue.

The following guidelines are to be used to respond to specific requests for passport-related information made by Australian Federal or State Law Enforcement Agencies, and Federal, or State/Territory government departments that are authorised under Federal or State/Territory legislation to request or receive such information.

Law enforcement organisations of foreign countries which request the release of passport information from an overseas post should be advised to pass the request to the Australian Federal Police through Interpol or to approach the Attorney-General’s Department and request release of the information under the provisions of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987.

Interpol is not an Australian law enforcement agency and direct disclosure of personal information is not permitted under the Privacy Act 1988 or the Australian Passports Act 2005, (refer to the Australian Passports Determination 2005, Section 46 and regulation 7.5). Disclosure of information to Interpol under the Australian Passports Act 2005 is limited to lost, stolen or suspicious passports only (section 45 refers).

All requests for passport information, such as passport dossiers and/or photographs, for domestic law enforcement purposes must be made on the Request for Passport Information Form using the letterhead/logo of the organisation making the request. A copy of the form is at Annex 5.

All written requests must be directed to Passport Fraud Section (PFS), Canberra, by email (passports.verify@dfat.gov.au) or fax (02) 6112 1071. Telephone enquiries about release of passport information for domestic law enforcement purposes should be referred to PFS Canberra on (02) 6261 1041.

Requests must include sufficient identification of the person/organisation submitting the request, the subject of the request (i.e. passport applicant/holder), the reasons for the request and the basis under the Privacy Act 1988 by which the information can be disclosed.

In extremely urgent cases, information may be released in response to a verbal request. All such cases must be referred to PFS Canberra via the Fraud Unit in each State office. PFS Canberra will release the information if it is satisfied that urgent release is required. PFS Canberra will ensure that the requesting organisation subsequently completes and lodges a Request for Passport Information Form (Annex 5).

Information provided in hard copy must be collected personally and signed for by a nominated employee from the requesting organisation.

Staff of requesting organisations must not be given access to APO databases, processing or storage areas. Any requests for such access should be referred to the Director, PFS, Canberra.

PFS Canberra will maintain records of information released in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Privacy Act 1988.

Requests to disclose personal information as required or authorised under Australian legislation (e.g. under section 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 the Australian Tax Office can request personal information from the Department) should be referred to central PFS Canberra: Tel: (02) 6261 1041, Fax: (02) 6112 1071, email passports.verify@dfat.gov.au