4 Aug 2010

Commissioner concerned at law change on credit info

10:07 pm on 4 August 2010

The Privacy Commissioner has warned against a proposed law change that will enable fines to be added to a person's credit reports, saying it goes too far.

Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee has been hearing submissions on Wednesday on the Courts and Criminal Matters Bill which will enhance the ability of the courts to collect fines and civil debts.

But Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff says a clause that will allow credit agencies to get financial information on people from the Crown is disturbing.

Mrs Shroff says the law change would affect the rights of citizens and the role of the state.

She says it is inevitable that the information given on a person will sometimes be wrong, resulting in a person being turned down for loans or jobs without knowing why.

However, credit information company Veda Advantage says full information about fines should be easier to access and put on a person's file, so they are encouraged to pay them off.

Veda's legal adviser Michelle Chignell says accessing the limited information proposed in the bill would require a specific inquiry, which credit companies would not always do.