03 Aug 2011
Story image

Law commission completes privacy review

By Contributor

The Law Commission has released the last volume in its four-stage report into privacy laws in New Zealand.

In addition to calling for new powers for the Privacy Commissioner, the report makes four key recommendations that could affect the way kiwis live:

1. Forced notification of data breaches. Agencies should be required to alert customers when their personal information is lost or otherwise compromised, for example as a result of computer hacking. InternetNZ has called for this rule several times, most recently in May, and says mandatory notifications impose an external cost that will force companies to commit to keeping their clients' personal information secure. The New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) has also endorsed the recommendation.

2. Exceptions to privacy laws modified. Certain exceptions to the privacy laws, such as the law protecting people who publish personal material that is offensive and humiliating to others, should be removed. For example, under the current law, a person who publishes nude photographs of an ex-partner on the internet is exempt from prosecution as it is considered a domestic affair. 

3. Improved sharing between government agencies. A new framework for sharing information between government departments should be put in place, with appropriate safeguards.

4. Forced adherence to telemarketers’ Do Not Call register. Telemarketers should not be allowed to call members of the public who have signed up to the Do Not Call register run by the Marketing Association. Over 100,000 New Zealanders are on the list, but participation by telemarketers is currently voluntary.

Recent stories
More stories