A woman was being treated for a serious illness at her local hospital. Her doctor dictated a file note about the woman's illness and the proposed treatment. This was transcribed by an employee of the hospital.
This employee had been a close friend of the woman, and was able to identify her from the dictation. The hospital employee subsequently disclosed to a mutual friend that the woman was unwell. The mutual friend then contacted the woman to express their concern.
A woman told us that she had applied for a job as a part-time retail assistant with a large retail chain employer.
The job application had been completed online on the store's website. As part of the process she was required to consent to the store carrying out a credit check on her. The woman's application was unsuccessful, and she complained to us that she considered the store's collection of her credit report was unnecessary for the purpose of determining whether she was a suitable a...
An ACC claimant asked Dispute Resolution Services Limited ('DRSL') to formally review a decision made by ACC. DRSL is a specialist dispute resolution company which engages independent reviewers to conduct review hearings.
After the hearing was completed, the claimant asked the DRSL reviewer for a copy of a transcript of the hearing. The reviewer refused the request on the basis that transcripts are only provided if there is an appeal of the review decision.
A man applied for a job that required him to agree to vetting by Police. The man authorised Police to release information about him to his potential employer.
The man complained to us that even though he had no criminal convictions, Police had marked his application with a red stamped warning that he should not be left unsupervised with vulnerable members of the community.
Police vetting applications
Police say the aim of the vetting process is to protect...
A man had an unlisted telephone number for personal safety reasons. He moved house and contacted his telecommunications company to give it his new address details, and to arrange for a new telephone number.
During this process the telecommunications company employee failed to transfer the confidential status of the man's old telephone number. As a result, the new telephone number was published in a publically available online directory.
A man attended a function run by a community organisation to which he belonged. The organisation later received several complaints about the man's aggressive behaviour at the function, including that he had struck another man who had asked him to leave.
The man asked the organisation for copies of the complaints it received about him. The organisation gave him a summary of the complaints, but refused to give him copies because it thought it couldn't do this without identifying who had m...
A woman was named as a joint executor of her mother's estate. After her mother died, the woman requested access to her late mother's health information. Three health agencies refused to provide the information without the authority of the other executor to the estate. The other executor had refused authority.
The woman complained to us about the refusal to provide information to her.
The complaint raised an issue under section 22F of the Health Act and rule 11(4) of the Health Inf...
A man received final demand letters from a credit agency about a tenancy debt that he did not owe.
In an attempt to clear his name, the man requested information from the credit agency about the alleged debt. The credit agency refused him access to this information stating that if the man was not the debtor, the disclosure of the true debtor's details would be in breach of the Privacy Act, and would involve the unwarranted disclosure of another individual's affairs. The credit agency su...
A man complained that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry ('MAF') disclosed information about him to another person. The man considered that the information should have been anonymised.
Principle 11 of the Privacy Act states that an agency that holds personal information must not disclose the information unless the agency believes on reasonable grounds that one of the exceptions in principle 11 applies in the circumstances.
A man visited a bar where he was asked by the doorman to produce identification. He produced his driver's licence which was scanned into a black box by the doorman before being returned to him. The man believed the box took a photo of his licence and recorded information about him.
The man complained to us that he had not consented to the scanning and storing of his licence. He also expressed concerns over who would be able to view the scanned information from his licence.
A woman complained to our Office about a debt collection company contacting her place of work.
She advised that the debt collection company had called her workplace hoping to talk to her. When her manager informed the debt collector that she was unable to take the call, the caller informed the manager of its name and number and gave her the woman's reference number and asked the manager to pass on the message.
The complainant advised that news that a debt collector had been trying...
A man made a request to the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service ('the Service') under principle 6 of the Privacy Act for a copy of information held by the Service about him. The Service responded to the man's request by neither confirming nor denying that it held information about the man, and therefore relying on section 32 of the Privacy Act.
Principle 6 of the Privacy Act provides that where any agency holds personal information in such a way that it can be readily retrieved,...
A man, M, who was involved in legal proceedings with his former partner, X, was a patient of a medical centre. The medical centre previously provided medical care to M and his family when he and X were still together.
X visited the medical centre with her new partner, N, and they requested historical information about the family and, in particular, an incident which involved one of the children a number of years before.
The medical centre assumed that N was M and so released a...
A woman complained that her landlord had disclosed health information about her to her flatmates.
The woman was one of three flatmates who had entered into a fixed term tenancy with the landlord. The woman became mentally unwell, and wanted to terminate her tenancy. Her psychologist wrote a letter to the landlord, supporting the woman's request that she be released from the tenancy on the basis that her mental health would decline further if she remained in the flat.
The complainant applied to rent a house through a real estate agency. As part of that process the agency conducted a credit check and obtained references from the complainant's referees. The rental application was subsequently declined. The complainant asked to see all the information the real estate agency held. No information was provided.
We contacted the real estate agency and it advised us that the only information it held was a credit check and the complainant's application f...
A number of lawyers complained to us about local councils charging a fee upon a request for rates information on behalf of clients.
A lawyer acting for a property vendor requires rating information from councils to reconcile outstanding rates at the date of settlement for the sale of a property. The councils charged the lawyers a fee for providing this information.
The lawyers complained that as they were requesting personal information about their clients, councils should not...