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Source: New Zealand Privacy Commissioner – Blog

Welcome to our latest round-up of privacy stories in the news.

Minister considers law change over tracing data privacy

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has flagged potential law changes that could address lingering privacy worries with the NZ COVID Tracer app. The move comes after Privacy Commissioner John Edwards suggested legal tweaks that would ensure agencies couldn’t use tracer data for spying or criminal investigations. Read more here.

Billboard cameras capture more details than ever

Cameras are being installed on billboards around the country that can track the individual vehicles that pass beneath them. The company behind the billboards is adamant the technology complies with privacy rules, while there are concerns from civil liberties experts that the automatic technology used to collect motorists’ data may be a step too far. Read more here.

NZTA worker who unlawfully accessed customers’ information charged

Police have charged a worker at the New Zealand Transport Agency after the personal details of 44 customers were accessed unlawfully. The details included driver licence numbers, number plates and home addresses. The agency has now informed affected people, two years after becoming aware of the breach in 2018. Read more here.

Man’s two-year battle to correct debt company’s botch-up

A man said he lost his job and struggled to obtain housing after a debt management company wrongly associated his name with another person’s debts. The man’s two-year struggle to have the mistake corrected is described in a recent case from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Read more here.

Can privacy coexist with technology that reads brain activity?

Future-minded entrepreneurs and researchers are developing technology to listen in on our brains and perhaps even reshape our thinking. Neurotechnology that connects our brains to the digital world has enormous potential, but the idea of allowing companies, governments, or even health care workers to access the brain’s inner workings is considered too intrusive by some. Read more here.

How encryption and decentralization supercharge our privacy

Government actions to legislate privacy protection around the world are a reflection of the public’s increasing concern for their online safety. But in the midst of the growing demand for strong privacy protections, governments are also working to weaken the very encryption that makes true privacy possible in the name of public safety. Read more here.

Image credit: Ivory Gull via John James Audubon’s Birds of America