• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy

Check and Correct Personal Information

Key Messages

  • You have rights under the Privacy Act to see information held about you.
  • The Privacy Act controls how people and organisations collect, use, disclose, store and give access to your personal information.
  • You can ask for information to be corrected if it’s wrong - or at least have your view recorded
  • You can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner if you think there has been a breach of your privacy
  • You can be wise and avoid inaccurate information about you being placed on the Internet.

Illustrating the topic

  • Story card - act out or discuss:
  • Sasha started at a new school. She found the work in her classroom really difficult and her parents were concerned that she was struggling to keep up. They asked the school why Sasha had been put into that classroom. The school said that it had got information from Sasha’s previous school that suggested that’s what would suit her. Sasha and her parents hadn’t seen that information and they wanted to know what the school had said. So they asked to see the information. They then discovered some of it was wrong.

Discussion Questions

  • See Activity one for a technique to discuss these questions.
  • Think of all the different people who might hold information about you. What information might they hold and what would they use it for?
  • Why might it be useful to see information about yourself?
  • Should someone who holds information about you be able to say no? When should they be able to say no?
  • Is it important that information about you is right? Why?
  • What would you do if someone wrote incorrect information about you on the Internet?
  • What should happen if you think the information is wrong but the person who holds it thinks that it’s right? (aiming for a win-win situation)


  • Discuss the Illustrating the topic story and questions using a 'Circle Time' discussion technique. Refer to the book for more ideas or use this one. Class sits on chairs in a circle. Give each child one of two names eg Internet, Library. Mix them quickly by asking “all Internets swap chairs”, “ all Libraries swap”. Turn to a partner to discuss the questions. Share some discussions by asking them to report together “we both like to play... .”, “we both agreed that... .” “ we disagreed on...”. The rest of the class can chorus “yes” if they also agree. Agree to avoid saying “no” as the silence suggests it.

  • Sort the different types of organisations or people who might hold information about the students. Write each group on a sticky and arrange in categories such as education, gaming, music, sport etc. Get students to think about the personal information the group might have about them.
  • Make a flowchart showing how you can ask to see or correct personal information held about you.
  • Set up with the school for your class to be able to ask for information about themselves (make sure the school can handle this number of requests all at once!). Get each student to write a letter asking for access to information about themselves - they should involve their parents and caregivers too.