New Zealand’s New Privacy Bill

A new privacy bill is going through the parliament in New Zealand with the legislation initially proposed back in March. The bill aims to revoke the Privacy Act of 1993 which is outdated.

This Thursday, May 24, public submissions for the new bill will end, and it will be inspected by the Select Committee to determine whether amendments are necessary. The government is hoping the new law will “promote people’s confidence that their personal information is secure and will be treated properly”.

Enhanced Privacy for New Zealanders

John Edwards, New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner did go on record stating that he hopes the new privacy law will give the government “meaningful enforcement powers, such as an ability to seek fines for serious non-compliance”.

Edwards believes much like European counterparts New Zealand too should make it mandatory for companies to disclose when data violations occur. Any failure to report violations will result in fines reaching $10,000 for businesses that do obey.

This will be critical in making New Zealand based firms alert to data breaches and cyber-attacks.

Edwards also wants the new legislation to address automated processes “that can affect access or entitlement to goods and services”.

Why Not Before?

New Zealand Law Commission in 2011 had recommended an update to the Privacy Act, but nothing happened. So, one could suggest the EU’s GDPR legislation played its part in making this bill a reality.

This is a good sign for digital privacy around the world.

Immaculate Timing

The timing couldn’t have been any better considering the ongoing revelations about corporate data mining such as Facebook.

The recent Cambridge Analytica disaster shed light on how corporations are mining data through social media.

Taking into consideration the many other incidents that have taken place over the years it is safe to say that New Zealand’s legislation bill is so vital.

What’s Next?

This Thursday, the bill will go back to the select committee to address any pending issues. After that, the legislation will be revised for a second reading. Then, the Committee of the Whole House will go through the bill before third reading. In this stage, the bill will get Royal Assent and be passed into law.

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