What is personal information

Personal information is any information or opinion about you where your identity is apparent or can be reasonably ascertained. It includes:

  • a written record that may include your name, address and other details about you;
  • photographs, images, video or audio of you; and
  • your health information, blood, tissue or DNA samples, or information about a health service provided to you.

Personal information includes obvious things like your name, address, telephone numbers and email addresses. It is also information about your family life, information about your sexual preferences, financial information and political views. It is defined in full at section 4 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW).

Health information is a specific type of personal information which may include information about your physical or mental health or, disability. It is defined in full at section 6 of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW).

What is not personal information

The following is not personal information:

  • information which relates to a person who has been dead for more than 30 years; and
  • publicly available information.

Publicly available information
This is information about named or identifiable people which is published in newspapers, books or the Internet, broadcast on radio or television, or posted on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. It also includes the names of graduates and their degrees made known at a public event like the graduation ceremonies of the University. Because such information is publicly available, it cannot be protected from use or further disclosure.

Personal information collected and held by the University

The University collects and retains personal and health information in the course of undertaking its functions. The object and functions of the University are prescribed at Section 6 of the University of Sydney Act 1989 (NSW).

The University’s functions can be summarised in broad terms as:

  • teaching
  • research
  • administration and support; and
  • community engagement.

Here are some examples of the personal and health information that the University collects and holds. The University does not have any public registers as defined under Part 6 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998:


  • Student records
  • Graduation records
  • Student files and other file-based records such as special consideration and misconduct
  • Records relating to learning and assessment


  • Records of human based research
  • Records of research and research grant administration

Administration and Support

  • Staff records
  • ICT records such as email systems
  • Records of medical and related services available to staff, students and the public.

Community Engagement

  • Alumni records
  • Donor records
  • Researchers and borrowers in University libraries, museums and archives
  • Patrons and performers for public lectures, seminars, concerts and similar events