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UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy Week John Edwards
9 February 2016

joseph cannataci

I’m looking forward to the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy during Privacy Week in May this year. Professor Joseph Cannataci is the world’s first privacy investigator at this international level, appointed by the United Nations to the new position just last year. He will speak at our Privacy Forums in Wellington on 11 May and in Auckland on 12 May.

Both forums are open to the public and the events will soon be open for registration.

I met Prof Cannataci at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, of which I am currently chair, in Amsterdam last year. As a result of this meeting, I invited him to come to New Zealand for Privacy Week. He will be visiting as a guest of our Office in one of his professional capacities - as an ambassador for privacy with a key role in raising privacy awareness among the public.

For privacy authorities and anyone who works to ensure the security and integrity of personal information, the creation of a UN rapporteur role devoted to privacy is a singular universal elevation of privacy rights. It’s more than symbolism; it’s a reflection of the growing international convention that privacy is a value that needs special attention in changing world.

Since taking up the role in July 2015, Prof Cannataci has spoken out about government and corporate surveillance on the Internet and overreaching intelligence gathering. He says proper oversight is the only way and one innovation he champions is a universal Geneva Convention-style law that safeguards people’s online information.

I look forward to meeting with Prof Cannataci again when he visits New Zealand and finding out more about his views on surveillance and oversight. I’m positive he will have a compelling contribution to make to our national discourse on privacy, oversight and transparency. I trust the many New Zealanders who are concerned about the present and future of privacy will also be keenly interested.

For more information about Privacy Week and the Privacy Forums, visit our website.

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