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Latest in News and publications

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Case Note 2976 [1996] NZPrivCmr 1 - Couple complain bank conducted unauthorised credit check and disclosed employment details

A married couple completed an application form to open a joint savings account at a bank. The customer services officer told the couple that she would 'get it checked' and carried out a credit check on them both.

The credit check was unfavourable and the couple were told they could not open the account.

In the course of obtaining the credit check, the couple's names, address, dates of birth, occupations and places of employment were given to the credit reference agency. After thei...

Official Information Act

Introduction; Constitutional conventions and conduct of public affairs; broadly defined requests and requests for large amounts of information; time limits; ability to charge to recover costs in deciding whether or not to release information; transfer of requests; refusal of requests; compliance with the requirements of Ombudsman; Order in Council procedure; diplomatic documents

Principles In Practice: Privacy Act Challenges For Lawyers

New Zealand Law Conference
12 April 1996

What makes the Privacy Act different?
A principled piece of legislation
Act's international origins
First comprehensive privacy law
Emphasis on informal resolution of complaints
Seamless application
So it's different
Does a new type of Act require a new type of interpretation?
Lawyers' role in compliance advice
Lawyers' own practices and the Privacy Act

Case Note 5824 [1995] - Real estate agency distributed circular with complainant's name and ceiling price

The complainant contacted a real estate agency expressing an interest in buying a property in a certain area. She told the agent how much she was prepared to pay.

Without the complainant's authorisation, the agent distributed a circular to houses in the area in which he gave details of the complainant's name, the fact that she wished to buy a house there and her ceiling price.

The agency accepted that the distribution of the circular was in breach of information privacy principle...

Case Note 5421 [1995] - A real estate agent's employee entered complainant's flat and took photographs

The complainant alleged that a real estate agent's employee entered the complainant's flat and took photographs. The employee had earlier left a note on the door asking the occupants to contact the agency. The note did not indicate any intention to inspect the premises. The real estate agent, who was the owner's property manager, said the photographs were taken to support an allegation of a breach the Residential Tenancies Act. This breach was never taken to the Tenancy Tribunal. The photogra...

Case Note 3526 [1995] - Real Estate agency published names of property buyers in a daily newspaper

An advertisement was placed by a real estate agency in a daily newspaper to publicise its success in achieving property sales and to thank its clients for using their services.

The complainants, who had purchased a property together, objected to this unauthorised publication of their names as buyers of a property.

They found the publication of their names distressing. They said the advertisement had caused considerable embarrassment as family, friends and work colleagues learned t...

Case Note 6656 [1995] - Physician disclosed results of blood tests

The complainant had a blood test at a hospital to establish whether she would be a suitable organ donor for a family member ( 'the recipient'). The result showed that she was a suitable match. The recipient was told by the physician of the complainant's suitability prior to the complainant being told. The complainant had not authorised the physician to disclose this information to the recipient and believed that the physician had breached rule 11 of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 (t...

Case Note 5251 [1995] - Husband was given balances of wife's bank accounts

The complainant alleged that her husband telephoned her bank to obtain the balance of their joint cheque account. He also requested and was given the balances of the complainant's personal accounts. Information privacy principle 11 places limits on the disclosure of information. The bank admitted that the information about the complainant's accounts had been wrongly disclosed and apologised to the complainant. She was not satisfied that the apology resolved her complaint. She told me that the...

Case Note 3984 [1995] - Woman requests video recording taken of her son while he was in hospital

On her son's behalf, the complainant requested a copy of a video recording taken of her son while he was in hospital. The recording was made to assist with diagnosis. The complainant required this information in order to obtain an independent medical assessment of her son's condition. The respondent hospital told her that it was not possible to give her a copy of the recording because of the difficulty involved in editing out other patients who appeared on the tapes. The complainant was not s...

Case Note 2502 [1995] - Customers object to retailer requiring fingerprint identification for cheques

A large retailer implemented a pilot scheme to accept cheques over $200 only from customers agreeing to supply a fingerprint. I was asked to investigate whether the scheme caused an interference with privacy.

The complainant and his wife went to pay for their purchases at the store. His wife wrote out a cheque from their joint account and was asked for her fingerprint. They alleged they had been given no warning that cheques over $200 would require...