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Chapter 20-25

COMLAW 101 Chapter 20-25: Week 5

Commercial Law
Course Code

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[ Tuesday 30th January - Privacy & Property ]
Protecting privacy
Traditionally no protection for privacy
But this has changed, but there is no complete protection for privacy
We will be looking at - The privacy Act 1993
privacy commissioner - John Edwards
(Watson et al., 10.1.2; Eagles et al., ¶ 32-11)
Privacy Act 1993
Implements in NZ international standards relating to the handling of personal information/personal
Existing legal remedies have difficulty when applied to protecting ordinary/commonplace facts
about individuals (e.g. where they shop, consumer preferences etc) Why is this?
The Privacy Act catches ALL such information (unlike the equitable action for confidence and the tort
of privacy) and is technologically neutral – that is it applies to “information” as opposed to files or
documents and does not depend on their storage medium
Types of personal information:
Mobile number
Bank detail
Health records
Uni grades
Company, organisation, a dead person
Act governs the collection, use and disclosure (i.e. whole information cycle/spectrum) of personal
Week 5
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
9:31 AM
COMLAW 101 Page 1

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There are 12 privacy principles (see s 6 of the Privacy Act)
Similar to overseas information privacy law (“fair information practices” / data protection principles)
Privacy act governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information when collected by
agencies individuals and organisations
Summary of Principles:
(NOTE these are the core of the Privacy Act)
An organization can only collect personal information relevant to its legitimate purposes
A clothing retailer cannot collect information about B’s health
Personal information must be collected from the subject directly
Clothing retailer can’t asl C to provide it with B’s email address
Subjects must be told information about them is being collected, by whom, why and who it is to be
shared with
If clothing retailer X wants to take photos of people wearing X xlothes, need to tell those people the
photos are being taken and X intends to show those photos in X’s store
Cant take photo of ppl in changing rooms, go through someones rubbish
Personal information must not be collected by unfair or intrusive means
Personal information must be held securely (protected from unauthorized access or loss) NOTE
security breach guidelines
Everyone’s canvas grade gets revealed no no, can’t be printed out and left on a table
You can access the info that the uni holds on you
Individuals must be allowed to access their personal information
Individuals have the right to request correction of their personal information
You were suspended for cheating but not true
An organization must ensure personal information is up to date and accurate before using it
Uni prevents you from graduating, claiming you have not paid your library fines. Uni has to make
sure that information is accurate before using it.
You tick the box you don’t want to be contacted , they should delete your records
Personal information must not be kept for longer than reasonably necessary
Personal information can only be used for the purposes it is collected for
You are told your details will be used by company collecting the info and even given to third parties
COMLAW 101 Page 2

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You are told your details will be used by company collecting the info and even given to third parties
Told that you will revieve information from that company or other companies unless you tick the
box you fail to tick the box
You tick the box by accident
Sell class list to employers, share grades etc
Unless student agreed
Personal information held by an organization cannot be disclosed unless this was a purpose it was
collected for (see principle 3)
An organization cannot assign the same unique identifier that another organization has assigned to
the individual
Uni can’t use your driver’s license as your upi
Data matching nono
NOTE Privacy Commissioner can issue Codes of Practice for particular sectors varying scope and
application of above principles. Several exist E.g. Health Information Privacy Code, Credit Reporting
Privacy Code
Exclusion from Privacy Act: News media excluded from the principles for “news activities”
- although public broadcasters Radio NZ & TVNZ must comply with Principles 6 & 7
Other exclusions: Other exclusions include Parliament, courts & tribunals
Also exempt is personal information collected/held by an individual for their ‘personal, family or
household affairs’
Note: Harmful Digital Communications Act
Serious emotional distress no no
6 month imprisonment, 5000-20,000 fine
(Watson et al., 10.1.8;
Eagles et al., ¶ 32-11-4)
Enforcement and remedies
Act does not allow access to regular courts (except appeals on narrow points of legal interpretation);
High Court only for denial of access to
information (Principle 6) by public sector
Complaints Procedure: emphasis on conciliation/mediation. Go to
• Privacy Commissioner
They investigate
Where conciliation unsuccessful:
Compulsory conference
Proceedings commissioner
Human rights review tribunal
Remedies available: injunctions / damages (for damages there must be some harm)
COMLAW 101 Page 3
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