The expanding definition of ‘personal information’

Our privacy specialist, Katrine Evans, did a presentation last week to relaunch the Privacy Commissioner’s occasional seminar series “PrivacyLive”. The topic was what kinds of information are covered by the Privacy Act.

It’s a subject that’s always had some grey areas, but new technology is pushing the boundaries of what is and isn’t covered by privacy legislation – not just here but around the world. When is your internet activity “about” you? What about your phone metadata? Having a lot that’s covered by the Privacy Act tends to make people nervous (though the cases also make for some great stories). But Katrine suggests that it doesn’t always matter as much as people think.

You can see Katrine’s presentation on the Privacy Commissioner’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1YGt_0CMwA&t=62s

There are several more presentations coming up in the PrivacyLive series as part of New Zealand’s contribution to Privacy Week, which starts on 8 May and runs across the Asia Pacific region. The presentations will be available on live stream for people who can’t make it to the venue (and probably later on YouTube too). Topics include employment law, privacy and broadcasting, and trusted data use. They should be well worth watching, so check the Privacy Commissioner’s website for further details and registration.

Privacy isn’t something to think about only once a year for a week, of course. But Privacy Week is a great opportunity for organisations to focus on how they handle information about their clients and staff. Some businesses run training sessions for staff, or produce posters or newsletters or blogs, or they use it as a prompt to update those policies and practices that they’ve been meaning to get around to for a while.

Katrine’s been involved in Privacy Week since it was first established, so she has a stack of experience about what people have found useful over the years. If you want some ideas about what might work in your organisation, feel free to contact us 🙂

(Last year’s Privacy Week logo)