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Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has today proposed an amendment to the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code to enable the launch of a new system to gather and share automated mobile emergency caller location information. The proposed change is to assist the emergency services to respond more quickly to an emergency. Submissions are invited on this proposal.

Until now, location information of this quality has not been available to emergency services. “I am persuaded that access to this information will assist our emergency services to more quickly find accident victims and individuals in an emergency,” Mr Edwards said. “I am proposing to amend an existing code to provide a clear lawful basis for this new automated system for generating and sharing location information on 111 calls from mobile phones. The amendment will place boundaries on who can access and use this sensitive location information.”

“Systems such as this are operating in other countries, and there is a reasonable consensus amongst telecommunications and privacy regulators that the sharing of location information to respond to emergencies serves a very important public good,” said Mr Edwards.

Submissions should be made to submissions@privacy.org.nz by 23 December 2016.

A PDF copy of this media release is available here.

ENDS

For further information, contact: Charles Mabbett 021 509 735.

Available on www.privacy.org.nz:

  • An information paper on the amendment (which includes the text of the proposed amendment and information on the submission process)
  • Background information on the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code.