A survey conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner found that two-third of New Zealanders want more privacy regulation.
Less than a third of those surveyed are happy with things as they stand. Six percent of New Zealanders would like to see less regulation.
Women are more likely to want more privacy than men. The survey found Māori are more likely to be very concerned about individual privacy than others.
Business sharing private data
In general, New Zealanders are most concerned about businesses sharing personal information without permission. Three quarters of the sample worry about this. Almost as many, 72 percent, have concerns about theft of banking details. The same number has fears about the security of online personal information.
The use of facial recognition and closed circuit TV technology is of concern to 41 percent.
UMR Research conducted the survey earlier this year. It interviewed 1,398 New Zealanders.
The survey results appeared a week after Parliament passed the 2020 Privacy Act. They show the public is in broad support of the way New Zealand regulates privacy.
Most of the changes to the Privacy Act bring it up to date. Parliament passed the previous Act in 1993 as the internet moved into the mainstream. There have been huge technology changes since then.
Justice Minister Andrew Little says the legislation introduces mechanisms to promote early intervention and risk management by agencies rather than relying on people making complaints after a privacy breach has already happened.
An important part of the new Act is mandatory privacy breach notification.
If an organisation or company has a breach that poses a risk, they are now required by law to notify the Privacy Commissioner and tell anyone affected.
The new Act also strengthens the role of the Privacy Commissioner.
The commissioner can issue a compliance notice telling data users to get their act together and comply with the Act. If they don’t, the commissioner can fine them up to $10,000.
Another update is when a business or organisation deals with a New Zealander’s private data overseas. They must ensure whoever gets that information has the same level of protection as New Zealand.
The rules apply to anyone. They don’t need to have a New Zealand physical presence. Yes, that means companies like Facebook.
There are also new criminal offences. It’s now a crime to destroy personal information if someone makes a request for it.