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Welcome to our fortnightly digest, Privacy News.

Sir Bruce Slane

Privacy colleagues at home and around the world have been expressing their sadness at the news that Sir Bruce Slane, who was New Zealand’s first Privacy Commissioner, has passed away. He was 85.

Current and former overseas data protection and privacy commissioners have been reacting to the news by contacting our office with personal messages. Sir Bruce attended the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners from 1992 to 2003. He was a popular figure due to his sense of humour and communications skills, as well as his wisdom in steering a course to effectively advance privacy. 

Sir Bruce played a pivotal part in the development of New Zealand’s privacy law. He was a special adviser to the select committee that reported back a substantially amended bill that eventually became the Privacy Act 1993. He helped to shape the law and subsequently achieved its successful implementation.

Among those paying tribute was Ann Cavoukian, the Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University, who tweeted: "Hats off to amazing Privacy Commissioner, Sir Bruce Slane. I loved my exchanges with Bruce at conferences and meetings - ever so witty and smart!"

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards tweeted: "I am very sad to let you know of the passing of a great and compassionate New Zealander - mentor, friend, trail-blazer. RIP Sir Bruce Slane."  He told news media that Sir Bruce was an upstanding legal professional, a humanist and an advocate for social justice.

Marie Shroff says she got to know Sir Bruce when she succeeded him as Privacy Commissioner. "Bruce set the pathway, as well as providing many direction signs along the way which have greatly helped his successors and privacy practitioners. He also became a friend and guide to me and many others both in New Zealand and internationally."

Sir Bruce was awarded the CBE in 1985 and became a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He accepted the title of Knight Companion in 2009.

The funeral for Sir Bruce will be held on Tuesday, 17 January 2017, at 2 pm at St Mary's Church, Parnell, Auckland.

Privacy Research Symposium on YouTube

If you missed our Privacy Research Symposium last month, you are now able to view the presentations on our YouTube channel. The symposium highlighted privacy research funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Privacy Good Research Fund, as well as other privacy-related research, including the presentation by the Australian researcher, Alison Rahn, on sexuality in aged-care facilities.

Our YouTube channel is available here.

Case note: Corrections failed to comply with access request from inmate seriously assaulted in prison

The complainant had been seriously assaulted in 2013 while in prison. The assault left him with a traumatic brain injury which has significantly impacted on his life. He advised our Office he was seeking legal advice about whether the Department of Corrections had failed to provide him with the necessities of life by not providing medical assistance sooner.

Read the full case note here.

Our latest blog posts: 


Sir Bruce Houlton Slane
Sir Bruce Houlton Slane
Author Charles Mabbett    Date published 8 January 2017

Sir Bruce Houlton Slane KNZM, CBE, LLB practiced law in New Zealand for almost 50 years, including 11 years as the country’s first Privacy Commissioner.

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Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities meet in Mexico
Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities meet in Mexico
Author Joy Liddicoat    Date published 9 January 2017

The 46th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum (APPA) was hosted by the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI), in Manzanillo, Mexico, from 30 November to 2 December 2016.

Read More


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