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We received a complaint from a mother who had requested her child’s health information from a medical clinic. The clinic had declined to provide the information because the child’s father did not want the information to be released.
This complaint raised issues under the Health Information Privacy Code (“the Code”) and the Health Act 1956 (“the Health Act”).
The Code and Health Act
Under section 22F of the Health Act, parents and guardians a...
A woman alleged that work undertaken by her local council had been the cause of damage to her property. She notified the council that she was considering taking legal action about this.
The council advised its insurance company of the potential legal action. The insurance company arranged for a geotechnical report to be carried out, in order to try and establish the cause of the damage to the property.
The woman later asked for a copy of the geotechnical report ("the report") fr...
A man made complaints about his neighbour to his local council. His complaints were made on the basis that his name would remain confidential.
The neighbour asked the council to provide him with all of the information it held about the complaints. This request was made under section 10 of The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 ('LGOIMA').
Section 10(1) of LGOIMA says:
Any person may request any local authority to make avai...
A man was involved in an altercation in a bar which resulted in his removal by Police. A number of days later, he returned to the bar to find that a patron had placed photographs of him, taken during the altercation, on the public noticeboard.
The man was humiliated by the photographs. He was a regular patron of the bar, which was in a small town. The man complained to the Police who told the bar to remove the photographs, which it did.
A woman had received several calls from an unidentified person, which had alarmed her.
She contacted her phone provider and asked for details about calls made to her cell phone on several specific days. She asked for the dates and times she received calls, and the phone number/s of the person making the calls.
The phone provider refused to provide her with this information because it did not believe she was entitled to information about calls that had been made to her ("incoming...
A man made a request to his bank for copies of loan documents that had been completed by his former wife. These loans had been taken out using a house owned jointly by the man and his former wife as security, but without the man's knowledge or agreement.
The bank had refused to provide these documents on the basis that they were not 'personal information' about the man.
The complaint raised an issue under principle 6 of the Privacy Act, which entitles individuals to access to pers...
An ACC claimant had two claims - a sensitive claim and a current physical injury claim. As part of the rehabilitation for his physical injury, he was referred to a physiotherapy clinic and to a careers assistance agency. Information about his claims was sent to these two agencies by ACC as part of the referral.
The man became aware that a large amount of information had been provided to the two agencies by ACC. It included some sensitive claim information, detailing sexual abuse, which...
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...