Usually, peoples’ personal relationships aren’t our concern, but a story that ran yesterday caught our attention.
Does working at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner make you paranoid? Well, it’s not quite that bad, but a New Zealand Herald article about cybercrime and identity theft prompted me to think about the number of my online profiles that use, or are linked to, my real identity.
As the working year gets underway, I’m holding on to that summer feeling of long hot days by the beach, walks in the bush, swims in the river, kayaking in the surf and enjoying fresh fish and new season corn for dinner. Far from city life, with few people around and everyone pretty relaxed, you could be forgiven for thinking you don’t need to worry about your privacy, especially privacy online.
The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 at much the same time that final drafting touches were being made to a privacy bill to be introduced to New Zealand’s Parliament. By 1993, when the Privacy Act was finally enacted, there were – wait for it – an estimated 15 million users of the Internet worldwide. That same year, according to Down to the Wire, Nat Torkington created New Zealand’s first ‘real web site’.
Digital communication is ubiquitous: a hair salon sends you text messages reminding you of appointments; movie tickets are booked through apps on your phone – and you wave a card in the air to pay for groceries. Our expectations might be that our health records can be also be swiftly and easily transferred.