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Welcome to our fortnightly digest, Privacy News.

Privacy Act turns 25

New Zealand reaches a privacy and data protection milestone this year as the Privacy Act marks its 25 year anniversary. It is New Zealand’s only comprehensive privacy and data protection legislation and has remained relatively unchanged since it was enacted.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards says the Act is a tribute to the lawmakers of the time because the law has withstood substantial challenges. “The Privacy Act is a technology-neutral piece of legislation with a principle-based approach that has made it resilient in the face of technological changes. This approach has meant that it is not obsolete even 25 years later.”

But Mr Edwards says the current law is not as strong as it could be. Read our media release here.  

Privacy: From principles to practice

For Privacy Week, our office will be joining with the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities network in marking the theme "Privacy: From principles to practice". Privacy Week in New Zealand will be from 7-11 May 2018.

The highlight of Privacy Week will be a full day forum held in Wellington on 9 May. More information, including registration details, will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Privacy Week is an initiative promoted throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It is an annual event to promote privacy awareness and to inform people of their privacy rights and agencies of their data protection obligations. You can stay up to date with our Privacy Week planning through this newsletter and on our Privacy Week page.   

Vote for a privacy trust mark

We’ve received over 40 entries in our Privacy Trust Mark Design Competition and we need your help to choose the People’s Choice Award. You can check out all the designs here.  

Vote by telling us which one are your favourite designs. You can do this by emailing us or by going to our Facebook page and liking your favourites.   

Note that the winning People’s Choice Design will not necessarily become the final privacy trust mark. The Privacy Commissioner will choose the overall winning design – but we need your help in selecting the People’s Choice Award.

People's Choice Award voting will close at the end of 23 February 2018. So get those votes in! 

Orwell’s 1984: A book, a film, a play… and now a reality?

This free panel discussion coincides with the Auckland Arts Festival and Auckland Theatre Company season of a theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s cautionary classic "1984". Is there more to say about this dystopian touchstone of privacy, surveillance and identity, 70 years since the book hit the shelves?

Chairing an informed and provocative panel is the author of the New Zealand Civil Rights Handbook, Tim McBride. The other speakers include one of the play’s leading performers, Terence Crawford, well-known blogger and media commentator, Russell Brown, and New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn.

This PrivacyLive lunchtime event is brought to you by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Auckland Arts Festival. It is on 14 March at 12.30-1.30pm in the Ellen Melville Pioneer Women’s Hall, Freyberg Place, Auckland. Register here to attend.   

Learning from cyberattacks

Register now to hear how CERT NZ uses its data about cyberattacks to inform New Zealand organisations how to prepare against current and future attacks. CERT NZ does this without compromising information about the organisations and individuals which report cyber threats.

This PrivacyLive lunchtime presentation is by CERT NZ’s Manager of Engagement and Communications, Katie Wellington. It is free to attend and will take place at 12.30pm on 19 March 2018 at MBIE. More information, can be found here.  Register here to attend.  

Talking blockchain and privacy

Join us to learn about blockchain from one of New Zealand’s foremost experts on the topic. Associate Professor Alex Sims of the University of Auckland will discuss Blockchain’s Promise for Privacy in our first PrivacyLive forum in Auckland. 

The hour-long presentation will be at the Pioneer Women’s Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Auckland, on 27 February 2018, from 12.30pm. Register here to attend.   

PrivacyLive events in Auckland are coordinated by our office in partnership with the Privacy Foundation NZ, iappANZ and Auckland Council. 

Case note: Staff told of colleague sacked for drug use

A woman was dismissed by her employer after drugs and drug-taking tools were seen in her car while it was parked in the company carpark. Three days after her dismissal, her manager emailed all employees disclosing the circumstances of her dismissal. The woman found out about the email and complained to our office.

Read our case note here.   

Our latest blog posts:

Do you really need that information?
Do you really need that information?
Author Shaun Ritchie    Date published 7 February 2018

Knowledge is power – a cliché, sure, but for a reason. As an agency, the more you know about your clients, the more effective your service can be. It makes sense to gather as much information as possible about the people you interact with. So why wouldn’t you?

Read More
Advice for doctors when there’s a complaint
Advice for doctors when there’s a complaint
Author Charles Mabbett    Date published 13 February 2018

If you work in a small practice or medical centre, there’s every chance you may not have received many requests for personal information from patients. The starting point is to know that the Privacy Act gives people the right to make a request for information that is about them.

Read More
Privacy Act turns 25
Privacy Act turns 25
Author Charles Mabbett    Date published 19 February 2018

This year we mark a milestone in privacy law in New Zealand. On 5 May 1993, the Privacy Act was passed in Parliament with the complete support of the country’s political parties.

Read More


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PO Box 10 094, Wellington 6143
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