I Spy Koala app - Privacy policy

The I Spy Koala app enables the community to record koala observation and survey data, which then flows directly into BioNet, the corporate biodiversity data repository for New South Wales.

I Spy Koala app was developed in 2019 by the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for the collection of koala observation and survey data.

This app is part of a pilot designed to improve the flow of koala observation data to NSW planning and decisions tools. All data submitted via the app is made available by the department through BioNet, NSW's corporate biodiversity data repository. From there, data is accessible to researchers, land managers, planners, consultants, government and the public via the BioNet website and associated data services.

Once your I Spy Koala data is submitted it will be available in BioNet within approximately 2 weeks. Your data will then be combined with other BioNet koala observations and published to the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) data portal, where you can conveniently view the interactive Koala Sightings – BioNet map.

Koala data helps inform environmental managers, land managers and the community about koala numbers, distribution and habitat, and assists the implementation of long-term conservation strategies to secure healthy koala populations in the wild.

How to access the app

The app is available for download for Apple and Android devices from either:

Terms and conditions

To sign up to I Spy Koala, you will need to agree to the following terms and conditions.

Privacy policy

Last modified on 19 October 2020.

The purpose of this policy is to tell you what kind of personal information that the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water may collect from you when you use the BioSys, BioNet Atlas, BioNet Vegetation Classification, BioNet APIs and I Spy Koala applications (collectively the app), how we may use that information, whether we disclose it to anyone and how you can access the information.

This privacy policy only concerns personal information collected by the department. The I Spy Koala application is distributed through Google Play and the App Store. By using this application, you may also provide personal information directly to Google or Apple. Depending on your preferred smartphone system, we recommend that you examine the privacy policy of your Android or Apple device and Terms of Service of Google Play and the App Store.

In dealing with your personal information the department must comply with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) which regulates the collection, storage, quality, use and disclosure of personal information.

Personal information is information or an opinion about you. You do not need to be named in the information. It is only necessary that information about you is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information. Personal information is found not just in paper files but also in such things as electronic records, video recordings and photographs.

The department does not disclose such information to any third party other than as specified in this policy.

We will collect the following personal information from you when you register to use the app:

  • your full name
  • email address
  • phone numbers (except for the I Spy Koala application).

If you apply for a Sensitive Species Data Licence through BioNet Atlas and are applying as an individual, we will collect your full name, email address, postal address, suburb, postcode and phone number.

You will also be directed to create a public username when using the app. Your username may include personal information if you can be identified from this information. Your username is published when you post an observation on the app.

We may also collect the following information from you when you use the app:

  • information about the physical site where an observation was made, including place name, time, time zone, date and coordinates
  • your IP (internet protocol) address or hostname when you visited the app
  • the pages you attempted to view or download, and whether those pages were displayed
  • the device and operating system you are using
  • whether you have previously visited our app (only if you accept cookies).

The purpose of collecting your personal information is to help administer the app and help validate any observations submitted by you. The department collects additional information for the Sensitive Species Data Licence because of the high-value information that this licence allows a person to access and enter into relevant app databases.

We use personal information to deliver our services to you so that you can participate in the full experience of the app.

In addition to some of the specific uses of information we describe in this privacy policy, we may use information that we receive to:

  • help you efficiently access your information after you sign in
  • remember information so you will not have to re-enter it during your visit
  • provide, improve, test and monitor the effectiveness of the app
  • develop and test new products and features
  • diagnose and fix technology problems.

Providing the personal information described above is voluntary, yet if you do not provide this information you cannot use the app.

Subject to the policy, the department will not disclose your personal information to any third party.

When you post an observation, this information is published on the app.

The information that will be published is your user name, your unique BioNet observer identification number, and information about the physical site where an observation was made, including place name, time, time zone, date and coordinates. As noted above, your user name may include your personal information if you can be identified from this information. However, your observer identity does not have to be your name and we publish the observer identity to protect the integrity of the observation process.

In addition to being published, this information will be disclosed to other parties. As these projects are part of broader national studies and conservation works we share your observations in a machine-readable format for certain observations with the Atlas of Living Australia, the Australian Ecological Knowledge Observation System (AEKOS), the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Your personal information is being collected by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Locked Bag 5022, Parramatta NSW 2124. It will be held by the department in an encrypted cloud-based server.

Access – under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 you have the right to access personal information the department holds about you.

Accuracy – we are committed to ensuring that the information we hold is accurate, complete and up to date, so we encourage you to advise us if the information you have given us has changed. If you believe our information is inaccurate, please contact us.

Retention – we will retain the information you have provided for a period that is appropriate for the purpose for which it was provided. Your information will be archived and disposed of in accordance with department policies, legislative requirements and guidelines based on the NSW State Records Act 1998.

Security – we take reasonable steps to preserve the security of your personal information and other information or data processed through the app. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed as perfectly secure. As a result, although we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us and you transmit such information at your own risk.

Once we have received information you transmit to us, we take reasonable steps to protect information during transfer and storage. Physical measures, such as building and equipment security, are used in conjunction with digital technology, such as data encryption and firewalls, to minimize unauthorised access to information.

For more information about privacy at the department, please contact:

GIPA & Privacy Unit
Locked Bag 5022
Parramatta NSW 2124

Phone: 02 9860 1440

Email: privacy@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Privacy information can also be found on our website.