First 100 days John Edwards
26 May 2014

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As far as arbitrary periods of time for measuring progress go, 100 days is pretty neat. That’s about how long I’ve been Privacy Commissioner.

Rather than give you a list of everything the Office has achieved in that time, the speeches, the proposed changes to the credit code to reduce the cost of reports for consumers, the data breach toolkit, and the tremendously successful Privacy Week (see what I did there?), I thought I’d take this moment to launch our blog.

Communication is key to my mission of “making privacy easy” and it is an important part of building public confidence in the role the Office plays in safeguarding privacy and personal information.  We’ve got to tell people what we are doing, so that agencies can learn from the way we resolve complaints, and know about the contribution we make to policy projects. Consumers and citizens have to have good information about their rights, the limits on those rights, and what to do if things go wrong. We want to be on the spot to help business make privacy work for them.

We’ve already got a few channels for getting those messages out, our Twitter and Facebook accounts, our YouTube channel (which is hosting our videos from the Privacy Forum, including Ian Fletcher’s talk about the GCSB), our website with our case notes and information about the International Privacy Law Library, but a blog provides an extra avenue for us to tell everyone about the work we do in an accessible and searchable way.

The blog will provide an opportunity for more people in the Office to write and publish short posts, while providing a commentary on developments in their specialist areas of the world of privacy  (yes, there are speciality areas even within privacy!).

One of the features I am most keen on is the way this will enable a free-ranging discussion.  The comments section will be lightly moderated (no abuse, no comments on live cases or breaches of privacy or defamation please!) and I am hopeful it will be a valuable source of feedback, and will prove an exception to the old “never read the comments” rule.

There can be a gap between what we assume are public attitudes to privacy issues, and what people actually think. There were some surprises for me in our UMR poll, for example. This blog, with your comments, will give us another way of taking the temperature, and reality-checking some of our assumptions. I hope you will participate.





  • Are there any data sets that the OPC has available that might form part of a 'transparency report' maybe providing quarterly views on what type of complaints are being received, resolution categories and timeframe etc etc

    (You may have this - but I did a quick look and couldn't see it)

    Posted by Donald Clark, 27/05/2014 6:49pm (2 months ago)

  • What surprised you about the poll?

    Posted by Mocha, 27/05/2014 7:18pm (2 months ago)

  • What surprised me about the poll? With such a lot of publicity over the last couple of years given to privacy breaches involving data leaks from government agencies and to domestic and international intelligence surveillance, I found it interesting that the number of people reporting that they were “very concerned” about privacy actually dropped since our last survey, even though the overall trend is steadily increasing levels of concern since 2001.

    Despite those breaches in the public sector, 71% of respondents consider government departments in general to be trustworthy or highly trustworthy.

    There was also a curious disjunction between the very high level of concern people have for the content children place on the internet about themselves (85% concern), and the fact that younger respondents were far more likely to have changed their privacy settings on FaceBook than older people ( 87% of under 30s vs only 37% of over 60s).

    I’m not saying that under 30s are children, but I wonder whether young people are as free an easy with their personal information and privacy as older generations think.

    Posted by John Edwards, 28/05/2014 10:01am (2 months ago)

  • Donald, we do have key performance indices (KPIs) for time frames and other performance indicators for our complaints process, and we report on those in our annual report, together with breakdowns of the kinds of complaints and outcomes. I also receive reports internally more regularly, and we will look to publishing those on a more regular basis.

    You can read our annual report here:

    Posted by John Edwards, 28/05/2014 10:07am (2 months ago)

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