New Zealand Privacy Act is to be updated.

March 30, 2012 |

The Privacy Commissioner has released media statement announcing that the New Zealand Government will update the Privacy Act.

The press release provides:

“Things have changed enormously since the Privacy Act was passed nearly twenty years ago,” said Ms Shroff. “Privacy is as important to people as it’s ever been. But the Act doesn’t always give people the protection they expect and need, particularly in the context of modern technology. And it needs to do more to support businesses.

“The need for reform is urgent. We want people to trust the new ways in which business and government work. They won’t do that unless they’re sure that their personal information is properly safeguarded.

“The Law Commission has proposed a package of sensible, practical and balanced recommendations to amend the Privacy Act. These recommendations give greater certainty to businesses and open up new opportunities for them. They also allow more flexibility for government and provide real protections for people. They are modern tools for modern problems.”

“The Government has already made progress on information sharing to assist government agencies, and we now need the second leg of the double.”

The Commissioner supports the key recommendations made by the Law Commission. These include:
• Privacy breach notification – to help people to protect themselves if their information ends up in the wrong hands and to make agencies accountable to their customers
• Giving the Privacy Commissioner the ability to audit agencies, so she can see what’s gone wrong and how to fix it
• Getting problems fixed quickly, by enabling the Commissioner to require agencies to comply with the law (for  example, strengthening security safeguards, issuing take-down notices, or ordering an agency to give people access to information about themselves)
• More effective complaints procedures – for example by making it easier for the Commissioner to deal with class action complaints about systemic problems
• Closing off highly offensive and damaging internet postings, such as intimate photographs taken of former partners
• A statutory “Do Not Call” register, so people can stop unwanted telemarketing calls
• Additional protections for victims of crime and harassment

“I hope that the government accepts these recommendations and that it moves quickly to get the new law passed” said Ms Shroff.

THe Law Reform Commission report is found here.

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