Privacy law changes

Judith Collins announced:

Significant improvements to our nation’s privacy laws will deliver stronger protections for New Zealanders’ personal information, Justice Minister Judith Collins announced today. …

Key proposals in the reforms include:

Mandatory reporting: Organisations will have to report data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner, and notify affected individuals in serious cases.

New offences and increased fines: Actions such as failing to notify the Commissioner of a privacy breach or impersonating someone to obtain their personal information will be illegal and carry a fine of up to $10,000. Existing maximum fines (for example, for obstructing the Commissioner) will increase from $2,000 to $10,000.

Enhanced powers: The Privacy Commissioner will have new powers, such as the ability to issue compliance notices. The Commissioner’s current power to independently decide to investigate a privacy issue will be enhanced.

Guidance and clarity: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will provide more guidance about how to comply with privacy laws. Also, technical improvements to the Act will make it clearer and easier to understand.

Ms Collins says the reforms will ensure New Zealand privacy law reflects the digital age and brings us into alignment with our major trading partners.

Recognising the importance of the Privacy Commissioner’s role, the Government recently boosted the Office’s funding by $7 million over four years as part of Budget 2014.

I’m pleased to see the Government adopting the recommendations of the Law Commission. The offence to impersonate someone to obtain personal information is desirable. Also the mandatory breach notifications.

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