The new Privacy Act will come into force on 1 November 2020. Replacing the Privacy Act 1993, the new legislation reflects the needs of the digital age. The changes aim to promote and protect privacy and give confidence that your personal information is properly protected. This will affect all rural businesses and businesses across the board that collect, store and use personal information about their employees, clients and/or customers.

Key changes are:

  • Mandatory reporting of privacy breaches: where a privacy breach occurs causing, or posing a risk of harm, businesses will be required to inform the individual concerned of the breach, and report that breach to the Privacy Commissioner
  • Destroying information to avoid disclosure: if you request information from a business, that business cannot destroy the information to avoid disclosing it to you
  • Compliance notices: the Privacy Commissioner will be able to issue compliance notices to make businesses do something, or stop doing something, to comply with the amended privacy law, and
  • Information stored or processed by one agency on behalf of another: if you are a New Zealand business that uses an overseas service provider, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the overseas provider complies with our privacy laws. You should be asking any overseas providers, such as cloud software, what they are doing to meet New Zealand privacy laws. New offences will be created with increased fines.

Remember, if you hold private information you must ensure that you store it securely and that you dispose of it safely when you no longer require that information.

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this article. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of this firm. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source. Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2020. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: Ph: 029 286 3650 or 04 496 5513.

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