This policy lets users of the ACORN website know when we collect personal information and what we do with it. We do not use, share or transfer personal information in connection with the website except as set out in this policy.

The ACORN website is operated using both Australian Government and commercial web hosting facilities. The staff who manage this website are subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in that Act. The APPs set out standards, rights and obligations for how we collect, store, use, disclose, quality assure and secure personal information, as well as your rights to access or correct your personal information.

What is personal information?

The Privacy Act 1988 defines personal information as “information or an opinion, whether true or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.”

Sensitive information is defined as including 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; or criminal record.

Collection, storage and use of personal information

Collecting your personal information

We collect personal information from you when you:

a. make a report to the ACORN, and
b. provide feedback to the ACORN via the online feedback form

If you provide us with your personal information and you wish to limit the use and disclosure of personal information, we recommend you expressly state those limitations when contacting us.

We may also collect sensitive information, if you provide it in your report or feedback to the ACORN.

(a) Making a report to the ACORN

When you make a report to the ACORN we only collect as much information as is reasonably necessary to understand the incident that you are reporting, so that we are able to assess whether your report should be referred to a law enforcement agency for consideration and possible investigation. This information includes your personal details (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.) and details about the crime you are reporting (i.e. the perpetrator and the loss you suffered).

Once a report has been submitted, the ACORN will assess whether the report should be referred to Australian law enforcement agencies for consideration and possible investigation. This assessment is based on a number of factors provided by law enforcement and other agencies, including the type and severity of the incident, where the suspect is located and whether the report contains sufficient information about the offender. If the report meets the relevant criteria, it will be referred to the appropriate agency for further consideration and possible investigation if necessary.

Information provided in ACORN reports may be shared with Commonwealth, State and Territory law enforcement and regulatory agencies for the purposes of detecting, investigating and preventing criminal activity, and analysing cybercrime data. By making a report to the ACORN, you agree to the information provided by shared with these agencies.

(b) Providing feedback to the ACORN

Feedback is important and is used to evaluate and improve the website. We will only record your email address if you provide feedback using our online feedback form. That feedback will be sent to appropriate staff. We may pass on relevant comments to our partner agencies who administer, have contributed content to, or are otherwise interested in, the ACORN. This could include your email address.

We use a spam filtering tool created by Automattic Inc called Akismet to check that online feedback forms do not contain spam-like features. Your online feedback form, IP address, name and email address (if provided) will be transmitted to servers which are hosted offshore. Your information will not be stored on Akismet’s servers unless Akismet falsely identifies your message as spam. In this instance, Akismet will only store your message long enough to use it to improve the service to avoid future false positives.

By using this website, you consent to Akismet processing data about you in the manner and for the purposes set out above. Please refer to Akismet’s privacy policy.

Your email address will only be used for the purpose for which it was provided and will not be added to a mailing list unless that is the purpose of the message. We will not use your email address for any other purpose, and will not disclose it without your consent.

Storing your personal information

Personal information that you provide will be held by the Australian Government and may also be held by the relevant partner agency who deals with your report. This information will not be made available to the public and, unless required by law, we will not publicise this information without your consent.

Using and disclosing your personal information

By submitting a report to the ACORN, you consent to your personal information being provided to Australian policing and regulatory agencies. We will only use your personal information for the purposes of detecting, investigating and preventing criminal activity, and analysing cybercrime data.

In some cases we may need to provide your personal information to overseas law enforcement agencies, as part of the criminal investigation process. We may also disclose your personal information to recipients overseas under international agreements that relate to information between Australia and other countries. Wherever appropriate, we will ensure that we either have your consent or that your personal information is not identifiable.

If we are unable to seek your consent to provide your personal information to an overseas recipient, or it is impractical to do so, we will only provide your personal information to an overseas recipient if we are allowed to do so under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Remaining anonymous

You can lodge a report on the ACORN anonymously if you don’t wish to provide us with your personal information. Your report of an online incident is more likely to be investigated and action taken by one of our partner agencies if you disclose your personal information, When you make an anonymous report the website will still log your IP address, but only for statistical purposes and to ensure that malicious reporting can be detected and acted on.

Statistical information

When you visit this website, a record of your visit is logged, as well as the following information:

  • your IP address
  • your top level domain name (e.g. .com, .gov, .uk, .au etc)
  • the date and time of your visit to the site
  • the pages accessed and the documents downloaded
  • your operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.)
  • your web browser version (e.g. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Opera, Safari, etc.), and
  • the time taken to download pages and documents.

This information is recorded for statistical purposes only and is used by us to monitor the use of the site, and to make improvements. No attempt is made to identify users or their browsing activities except in the unlikely event of an investigation into apparent improper use of this website, or when a law enforcement agency or other government agency exercises its legal authority to inspect our service provider’s web server logs.

Accessing or correcting your personal information

You have a right to access personal information we hold about you. You also have a right under the Privacy Act to request corrections to any personal information we hold about you if you think the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.

To request access to your personal information, please send us an email through our online form. When making your request, please provide sufficient information to enable us to identify records held by us that contain your personal information and to verify the information contained in the records is your personal information.

We will provide you access to your personal information except where we are not required to do so.

How to contact us

If you have any privacy concerns you should direct them to the Privacy Contact Officer by email to privacy [at] (Subject: ACORN%20privacy%20query) (Privacy). If your query is regarding the current status of your submitted report, please contact your local police agency in your state for assistance. For all other enquiries including technical issues/error messages, website content & Media enquiry please use the website feedback form.

You may also make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). If you do so, the OAIC may recommend that you try to resolve your complaint directly with us in the first instance. The OAIC can be contacted via the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. This website also contains further information about making complaints relating to privacy.

You may also wish to read our Disclaimer.

Use of cookies

A cookie is an electronic token that is passed to your browser and your browser passes it back to the server whenever a page is sent to you.

Our servers generate cookies that are used to keep track of the pages you have accessed while using our server. Cookies are small text files stored on your computer or device that collect information about preferences, settings and online activity.

Cookies are not used for any other purpose by this website. We do not use cookies to collect personal information.

Google Analytics

In addition to web server logs, this website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google Inc. Reports obtained from Google Analytics are used to help improve the efficiency and usability of this web site.

Google Analytics uses ‘cookies’ to help analyse how you use this site. The information generated by the cookie (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States.

Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of our website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

By using this website, you consent to Google processing data about you in the manner and for the purposes set out above. Please refer to Google’s Privacy Policy.

Interaction between this site and other sites

This site contains links to other sites. This website may also use social sharing tools to make it easy to share information—for example, incorporating Facebook tools, so that users can ‘Like’ content. These other sites may use web measurement tools, customisation technologies and persistent cookies to inform the service they provide to their users.

We are not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of these sites.