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Source: New Zealand Privacy Commissioner – Blog

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

Police photos of young people raise concerns over facial recognition

There are growing suspicions facial recognition technology is being used on photographs of innocent people by police. It has been revealed that police are approaching innocent young people, photographing them, collecting their personal details and sending it all to a national database called the National Intelligence Application (NIA). Read more here.

Police photographing inquiry extends to wider public’s experiences

The Independent Police Conduct Authority and the Privacy Commissioner are broadening their investigation into the police practice of photographing innocent young people to include any member of the public. The inquiry was launched last year after the media highlighted multiple cases of young Māori being photographed on the street in Wairarapa. Read more here.

Police drones, body cameras likely to be scrutinised by new panel

Police use of drones, body-worn cameras and automated decision-making will all come under the scrutiny of a new independent panel, which has been set up following criticism over the use of facial recognition software. Privacy Commissioner John Edwards says the panel is a positive initiative. Read more here.

Air New Zealand warns frequent flyers of data breach

Air New Zealand says a Star Alliance partner has been hit by a privacy breach involving some of its customers’ data. The airline says it shares ‘minimal’ frequent flyer data with other companies in the Alliance. The affected information is limited to name, tier status and membership number of an undisclosed number of customers. Read more here.

Covid-19 vaccine passports will be hotly desired – and contested

Vaccination passports, which will allow people to show they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, could be the key to kick-starting New Zealand’s tourism economy. But these tokens of access raise ethical and equity issues, as well as tricky privacy and security problems. Read more here.

Licence plate scans aid crime solving but spur little privacy debate

Licence plate readers are feeding immense databases with details on Americans’ driving habits, despite little public awareness about the breadth of the data collected or how it is used. The vast network of automated licence plate scanners makes it nearly impossible to drive anywhere in the US without being observed. Read more here.

America, your privacy settings are all wrong

Americans have become inured to the relentless collection of their personal information online, but that’s the daily reality on the internet. Corporations say opt-out provisions put control into the hands of consumers, but users are unlikely to switch off data collection and opting out usually requires dropping services entirely. Read more here.

Image credit: American Snipe via John James Audubon’s Birds of America