Media concerned about privacy just days after the Panama Papers

Do they even realise how dumb they look?

Bill English — Finance Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and now prospective Big Brother; he wants to bring together the data held by 10 government agencies so that more can be known about Kiwis.

The agencies include health, education, social development, justice and Inland Revenue. It will create what he calls a “data highway”.

He’ll give government workers access to it, even on their smartphones, so they can draw information on people from multiple sources before making decisions that affect them.

The data has already shown New Zealand’s 10,000 most vulnerable people will cost taxpayers $6.5 billion over their lifetimes.

“We’re using the same tools that every other business in the world is using to understand much more about our customers,” says Mr English.

Now the Finance Minister wants to go much further and use the information to target families and funding, like Facebook uses its algorithms to target adverts.

Excellent news.  We’re dealing with ONE government.  It’s absolutely absurd to have to have information all over the place.  How many times have you had to prove who you are, where you live, if you were really born, and so on?  It’s tiring and ultimately it is inefficient both ways.   And that’s just the basics.

“We’re not looking at reducing privacy or confidentiality,” he says. “We’re looking at sharing it.”

The sharing is already well underway in what’s called the Integrated Data Infrastructure, which already has 166 billion facts and 177 active projects.

Mr English is already using it to turn down funding for proposals in this year’s Budget.

He says when it comes to at-risk youth, getting the full data picture could save lives. Social workers or other government agents could even access it by smartphone.

The big data plan is backed by Diane Roberston, formerly of Auckland’s City Mission.

The contentious bit is of course privacy, but Mr English’s message is simple — we’ve got the data, let’s use it.

Exactly.  Only the other day we saw the benefit of flagging passports of tourists if they are trying to leave the country with unpaid fines in their wake.

But oh no – privacy.   Privacy my arse.  The same people feast on the private details of individuals.

But government is bad, dangerous and must be stopped at all times.  Instead, we just complain about how kids fall between the cracks among CYF, police, WINZ and so on, and we won’t actually do a bloody thing to try and help them…  nope… not if you’re the media.

Bloody hypocrites.


– Paddy Gower, Newshub

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.