Proposed new rules to streamline researchers’ access to de-identified data

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is consulting on remaking the Telecommunications Integrated Public Number Database Scheme 2007.

Under section 295A the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act), the ACMA must have a scheme in place to authorise access to the IPND for the purposes of publishing public number directories and conducting permitted research. If the IPND Scheme is not remade before April 2017, it will sunset.

The ACMA is proposing to remake the IPND Scheme with changes to allow greater research industry authorisation and management of access to data in the IPND and to improve its efficiency.

The proposed IPND Scheme changes include:

  • facilitating management of applications from researchers to access IPND data by a recognised research industry body, in controlled circumstances
  • allowing the ACMA to grant researchers ongoing access, subject to requirements such as a privacy impact assessment.

Under the proposed industry authorisation model, an authorised research body or association would only be able to provide its members with de-identified IPND customer data and geographic information; geographic information would be no more specific than at the level of postcodes.

A requirement that remains unchanged is that researchers also obtain an individual’s consent to conduct the permitted research.

IPND data available under the IPND Scheme does not include silent fixed line numbers or mobile numbers unless customers specifically request that their numbers are listed.

Submissions to the proposed changes can be made here.