Research Information Privacy Policy

Research Information Privacy Policy

Version 1.1, September 2014

1.         Purpose

This Research Information Privacy Policy (RIPP) constitutes the Social Research Centre’s privacy policy. It outlines how the Social Research Centre protects your privacy rights and upholds its obligations under privacy law, when handling your personal information. 

2.         Introduction 

The Social Research Centre (ACN 096 153 212) respects and upholds your rights under the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).  The Social Research Centre also adheres to the draft Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2014 (Code). For more information about the Privacy Act, the APP and the Code please visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website:

The RIPP lets you know what personal information of yours we hold, what we do with it, who we will disclose it to and how you can access the personal information we hold about you. You can also find out here how to change inaccurate personal information and how to opt out of receiving communications from us.

3.         Information

The Social Research Centre collects both personal and sensitive information as part of its regular social research activities. These terms are used in the Privacy Act and APP and are explained below.

a.         Personal Information

As part of our social research we are likely to collect your personal information.  The Privacy Act defines personal information as: “information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.”

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) cites the following as common examples: individual’s name, signature, address, telephone number, date of birth, and commentary or opinion about a person. We may collect any of the above information as well as any other personal information that is sufficiently relevant to the topic of the social research.

Given the nature of the social research work conducted by the Social Research Centre, it is not always practicable for interview subjects to remain anonymous or to use pseudonyms.

b.         Sensitive Information

Depending on the nature of the research we conduct, we may also collect sensitive information from you. The OAIC APP Guidelines define sensitive information as: “information or an opinion (that is also personal information) about an individual’s:

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • political opinions, membership of a political association
  • religious beliefs or affiliations
  • philosophical beliefs
  • membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union
  • sexual orientation or practices
  • criminal record, and
  • health information about an individual, genetic information (that is not otherwise health information).”

Sensitive information will only be collected with your prior consent and only if it is directly related to, or reasonably necessary for the research we conduct.

4.         Collection
The Social Research Centre will generally collect your personal information directly from you in the course of you participating in our research and/or surveys. However, we may also from time to time collect personal information about you from third parties, such as when a client provides us with a list of sample data to use in conducting our social research.

If this is the case, we will inform you that we have received your personal information as soon as is practicable and the circumstances of the collection. At this time you will be provided with an opportunity to decline participation and opt-out of any research process. If you elect to do so, we will delete any of your personal information in our possession, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

We may also collect personal information from public phone directories, commercial or consumer listings, data organisations and respondent recruitment agencies.

5.         Use

We will only use and disclose your personal and research information for the purpose of conducting our social research and in accordance with this RIPP.

We will not use or disclose your personal information for the purpose of advertising, promotions or direct marketing activities. 

If you have participated in our research, we will only re-contact you if you were informed of this prior to collecting your personal information or if we have valid reasons to believe a genuine research concern warrants such re-contact.

6.         Disclosure
We will not disclose any personally identifiable research information we collect from you unless we have your express prior consent and will only report the information you provide in an aggregate form that will not personally identify you.

We will not disclose any personal information or personally identifiable research information to a third party for a purpose other than conducting our research unless we have your express prior consent or are required to do so by an Australian law or court/tribunal order. 

In the course of conducting social research, we may rely on third party service providers to host or store the data we collect. We take all reasonable steps to ensure that third party service providers comply with our RIPP, the Privacy Act and the APPs.

7.         Openness

You have the right to request access to any personal information we hold about you. You can request this information by contacting the Privacy Officer at the details listed below. Where we hold information that you are entitled to access, we will respond to your request in a reasonable time and endeavour to provide you with a suitable range of choices as to how access is provided.

If at any time you believe that personal information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request amendment of it and we will either amend the information or make a record of your comment, as we think appropriate.

8.         Complaints

If you have any questions about the RIPP or believe that we have at any time failed to keep one of our commitments to you to handle your personal information in the manner required by the Privacy Act, the APPs or the Code, then we ask that you contact us immediately using the following contact details:

Privacy Officer
The Social Research Centre
(03) 9236 8500

We will respond and advise whether we agree with your complaint or not.  If we do not agree, we will provide reasons.  If we do agree, we will advise what (if any) action we consider it appropriate to take in response.  If you are still not satisfied after having contacted us and given us a reasonable time to respond, then we suggest that you contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by:

  • Phone: 1300 363 992 (local call cost, but calls from mobile and pay phones may incur higher charges). If calling from overseas (including Norfolk Island): +61 2 9284 9749
  • TTY: 1800 620 241 (this number is dedicated to the hearing impaired only, no voice calls)
  • TIS: Translating and Interpreting Service: 131 450 (If you don’t speak English or English is your second language and you need assistance and ask for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner)
  • Post:       GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001
  • Fax:        +61 2 9284 9666
  • Email:
9.         Our Website
When visiting the Social Research Centre’s website, the site server makes a record of the visit and logs the following information for statistical and administrative purposes:
  • the user’s server address – to consider the users who use the site regularly and tailor the site to their interests and requirements;
  • the date and time of the visit to the site – this is important for identifying the website’s busy times and ensuring maintenance on the site is conducted outside these periods;
  • pages accessed and documents downloaded – this indicates to the Social Research Centre which pages or documents are most important to users and also helps identify important information that may be difficult to find;
  • duration of the visit – this indicates to us how interesting and informative the Social Research Centre site is to candidates; the type of browser used – this is important for browser specific coding; and
  • in order to optimize the Social Research Centre web site and better understand it’s usage, we collect the visiting domain name or IP address, Computer Operating System, Browser Type and Screen Resolution.

A cookie is a piece of information that an Internet web site sends to your browser when you access information at that site. Cookies are either stored in memory (session cookies) or placed on your hard disk (persistent cookies). The Social Research Centre website does not use persistent cookies. Upon closing your browser the session cookie set by this web site is destroyed and no personal information is maintained which might identify you should you visit our web site at a later date.

10.      Data Disposal

The Social Research Centre will destroy or de-identify your personal information as soon as reasonably practicable once it is no longer required to complete the social research project for which it was collected. However, we may in certain circumstances be required by law to retain your personal information after our research has been completed. In this case your personal information will continue to be protected in accordance with this Policy. If we destroy personal information we will do so by taking reasonable steps and using up-to-date techniques and processes.

11.      Security of Information
The Social Research Centre will take reasonable steps to protect your personally identifiable information as you transmit your information from your computer to our website and to protect such information from loss, misuse, and unauthorised access, use, modification, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

However, you should keep in mind that the transmission of information over the Internet is never completely secure or error-free. In particular, e-mail sent to or from this website may not be secure, and you should therefore take special care in deciding what information you send to us via e-mail. The Social Research Centre uses a secure portal for the completion of online surveys.

12.      Miscellaneous

This policy is effective from the date of publication September 2014. This policy will be reviewed periodically.  Although we intend to observe this RIPP at all times, it is not legally binding on the Social Research Centre in any way. From time to time we may regard it as necessary or desirable to act outside the policy.  The Social Research Centre may do so, subject only to any other applicable contractual rights you have and any statutory rights you have under the Privacy Act or other applicable legislation.

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