Inquiry on data leak not enough

ComVoices says that an enquiry into the privacy failure of MSD’s online reporting platform for community organisations required to provide individual client data (ICLD) addresses only one of the Privacy Commissioner’s four recommendations.

“The just announced enquiry is deflecting us from the real question”, said Trevor McGlinchey, ComVoices Spokesperson. “The question at the heart of the enquiry should be why are we collecting data that the Privacy Commissioner has said is ‘...excessive, disproportionate to government’s legitimate needs and therefore inconsistent with the privacy principles’?”

“The staff of social services organisations have a range of professional bodies which provide ethical guidelines about maintaining the privacy of clients. Not only will these organisations be breaking these ethical guidelines, they will also be forced to work in direct contravention of the Privacy Commissioner’s findings.”

At the moment service providers have been told they must continue to collect the private data of their clients to provide to MSD at a future date. They have not been told who will be held to account for breaking the privacy principles set out in the Privacy Act.

“The community sector is waiting for leadership from the Minister and MSD about the important issues raised in the Privacy Commissioner’s report,” says McGlinchey. “This mass collection of data is inappropriate and will directly affect many New Zealand families. This level of surveillance will cause others not to seek help so that they do not become labelled as ‘vulnerable’ and included as a named statistic on a government database. As always the NGO sector is happy to work alongside MSD to find a more appropriate solution to their data needs.”

ComVoices is calling on the Government to put an immediate hold on this policy while it addresses the issues raised by the Privacy Commissioner.