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Welcome to our fortnightly digest, Privacy News.

PrivacyLive during Privacy Week

Privacy Week is less than five weeks away. You can now register for four PrivacyLive forums. At these lunchtime forums, we'll be featuring expert speakers and exploring privacy in employment, in broadcasting and in driving trusted data use. If you're unable to attend, we will be live streaming each PrivacyLive event and you'll also be able to watch them on demand on our YouTube channel.

Here's what we have in store so far:

Privacy in Broadcasting: a Privacy Week event (8 May in Wellington). We will hear how the Broadcasting Standards Authority handles privacy complaints about radio and television broadcast items. The presentation will include examples of recent cases. Register here to attend.

Privacy in Employment: a Privacy Week event (8 May in Wellington). Susan Hornsby-Geluk has over 20 years' experience as a specialist employment lawyer. Her areas of expertise include official information, privacy and human rights issues. She will be giving a wide-ranging presentation with a focus on privacy that will be of relevance for employers and employees alike. Register here to attend.

Driving Trusted Data Use: a Privacy Week event (11 May in Auckland and 12 May in Wellington). Join us for a session with the Data Futures Partnership (DFP). Chair Dame Diane Robertson will present two recent studies - on "Re-identification and Big Data" and "The Social Licence to Share" - as an update on recent work by the DFP. To attend the Auckland event, register here. To attend the Wellington event, register here.

Privacy Week is an annual event held by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to celebrate the privacy rights of individuals and promote best practice in personal information handling. This year, Privacy Week is from 8-12 May. For more information about Privacy Week, visit our Privacy Week page.

Commissioner releases 2016 credit assurance reports

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has released the annual compliance assurance reports submitted by the three national credit reporting companies. "I was pleased to see the credit reporting companies actively monitoring their processes and making improvements to their systems," Mr Edwards said. Find out more here.

PrivacyLive Forum with Katrine Evans

If you missed the first of our PrivacyLive speaker series on 29 March, you can view the presentation by Katrine Evans on our YouTube channel.

In the presentation, Katrine, a former Assistant Privacy Commissioner, currently at Hayman Lawyers, discusses the changing nature of personal information and the contextual nuances in how to define it. Our thanks go to InternetNZ for the use of their venue.

Next GOVIS Meet the CIOs forum

GOVIS is holding its third "Meet the CIOs" series of lunchtime forums later this month. The featured CIO is Stuart Wakefield, Chief Information Officer at the Ministry of Education. Stuart will discuss the Education System Digital Strategy, how it was developed, and the impact it is having across New Zealand.

There is limited space for this free event. People who work for GOVIS member agencies will be given priority for places. As usual, a light lunch will be provided. Register here to attend at 12pm on 19 April at MBIE Head Office, 15 Stout St, Wellington.

Our latest blog posts:  


Hager and Westpac - A bit more context, information and clarification
Hager and Westpac - A bit more context, information and clarification
Author Sam Grover    Date published 22 March 2017

There has been a significant amount of media coverage about our investigation into Westpac bank disclosing journalist Nicky Hager’s bank account information to Police in 2014. In the course of that reporting, some misconceptions have emerged. Because of the interest in the case, and the potential implications for future practice, we have noted some points of clarification and context below.

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Traitors under our skin?
Traitors under our skin?
Author Sebastian Morgan-Lynch    Date published 4 April 2017

When Ross Compton’s house caught fire in September 2016, he was able to escape unscathed, with a suitcase full of clothes and the charger for his external heart pump. But when the 59-year-old US man explained to arson investigators how he’d broken the window with his cane and hurled his most important belongings out the window before scrambling to safety, they weren’t convinced. And so, in a twist that would have been science fictional a few years ago, they interrogated his heart.  

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How to make information available – some tips for agencies
How to make information available – some tips for agencies
Author Lynley Cahill    Date published 4 April 2017

We live in an age where agencies collect and hold a lot of information us. When we then request access to that information, this places demands on the time and resources of agencies to meet their obligations under the Privacy Act. Agencies sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed when responding to requests for personal information -  especially where a high volume of information is held.

Read More


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