Internet privacy

Human Rights Review Tribunal and Privacy Commission out of control

Yesterday the Herald editorial outlines the egregious case of the very agencies charged with protecting privacy in New Zealand now violating the privacy of others in order to prosecute a case laid  by a moaning whinger who didn’t get a job and claims he was victimised as a result.

The law is not always an ass but it can produce an absurdity. The decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal to make a company disclose to a failed job applicant the CVs and reference checks of others going for a job is an example.

The aggrieved party complained to the tribunal that he was discriminated against on the basis of age. He wants to see the credentials of others who applied or succeeded in the process. Under the court system’s rules of “discovery”, which the tribunal adopts, all information pertinent to an action needs to be handed over from the defendant to the plaintiff. The tribunal has dismissed an application from the company involved, Alpine Energy, to block that discovery under a section of the Evidence Act which covers confidentiality.

So Alpine and its recruitment agency must give the man the information it has on the successful candidate and those who contested and lost. This would include not only names, applications and CVs (although the tribunal and the failed job-seeker have agreed it need not include addresses and contact details) but also reference and perhaps security checks.

If one of those who applied, in confidence, has a criminal record or a past debt, the information could be made available. Presumably, medical information, past behavioural issues or work performance details provided by former employers and referees would also fall under this other person’s scrutiny.  Read more »

Ratbags milking the Privacy system for own gain

The new Privacy Commissioner made a refreshing start with his first appearance before a select committee.

The  new privacy commissioner says there is a “disturbing” trend for people to use privacy breaches for their own gains.

Speaking before MPs at a select committee hearing in Parliament yesterday, commissioner John Edwards said that, in the rush to share and connect information online, companies and government agencies had not properly considered privacy.

He pointed to the 2011 ACC privacy breach in which a spreadsheet containing the details of 6000 sensitive clients was accidentally sent to an ACC claimant.

“Why do we need to email a spreadsheet containing details with 6000 people to 35 managers? Why do these managers all need this personal information?”

However, he also criticised the accidental recipients of private information for seeking publicity or personal gain instead of returning it. “No right-minded member of the community, when they stumble across a wallet containing identifying details and thousands of dollars, would think they had a right to keep that.”   Read more »

A good judge, but I bet the Privacy Commission would disagree

A judge has ruled in an employment case that there is no such thing as privacy on Facebook.

Judge Christina Inglis ruled against a ratbag employee who slagged off his boss on Facebook.

Slagging off your boss on Facebook might not be the best career move, with a judge warning there is no such thing as a private conversation on the social network.

The advice comes after an employee, who called his manager a dickhead on Facebook, lost his appeal for constructive dismissal.

Jarrod Hook took his case to the Employment Relations Authority earlier this year, claiming he was pushed into resigning from his job as an IT consultant for the Stream Group.  Read more »

Millions of New Zealanders attempt to access Child Porn sites – Ben Heather [UPDATED]

Yes, that’s what I though too:  What?

See for yourself:

mk

This doesn’t pass the BS test.  MillionS of Kiwis means about one in two, perhaps one in three of us are trying to access Child Porn web sites.

What the hell is going on here?   Read more »

Has the Herald broken the law?

They may well have broken the law with their little data mining project exposing that MPs follow the rules and some are richer than others.

The Privacy Act says:

Privacy Act 1993 Clause 59 Public Register Privacy Principles …

Principle 2 Use of information from public registers

Personal information obtained from a public register shall not be re-sorted, or combined with personal information obtained from any other public register, for the purpose of making available for valuable consideration personal information assembled in a form in which that personal information could not be obtained directly from the register.  Read more »

Tech Advisory for readers not seeing refreshes

Due to the heavy traffic load…over 750,000 pageviews yesterday, we had to implement a caching system to improve performance.

This is causing some problems for people where they are not getting updated posts.

You need to clear the cache on your browser.

Here are instructions for most browsers.

Most readers use Chrome on my site so here are the specific instructions for Chrome.

  1. Open the settings on Chrome. Click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the browser to the right. Click settings on the bottom of the menu.

Our Pinko Mate Highlights the Problems for Miccio

As predicted earlier dodgy local government ratbag and incumbent mayor of Nelson Aldo Miccio has enraged the internet protectors. David Farrar puts the boot in. 

This is outrageous.  If he was a commercial operation, he would be in breach of the spam act. As it stands I believe Miccio and the Council are in breach of the Privacy Act as they are using private information not for the purpose it was given.

What is disturbing is the Mayor says he would do it again.  Read more »

Spying, privacy, intrusion, and media

Stephen Franks blogs his thoughts on the media own goal currently in progress with the investigations and committee deliberations surrounding the leaking of the Kitteridge report.

[T]he short-sighted journalists baying for privilege from investigation even incidentally will have strengthened the trends and the climate that will some day justify shutting them out of their most vital public function – that is searching out, by fair means or foul, and making public, the embarrassing and significant information that Parliament’s denizens would most wish to keep secret.

In other words, by inventing new categories of privacy intrusion, this time to make sacred the email traffic data of Ministers who do not want it known, and their own, they bring forward the day when it will be a sufficient justification to exclude them, or to criminalise their publication of unwelcome disclosures, simply because they are not officially supposed to have the information, or have failed to apply formally through the proper channels. That seems to be the gist of the accusations against Mr Henry, Mr Thorn and others) on the basis that the release of information was not wanted by its subjects. People who live by discovering and publishing truths that the subjects would rather keep secret or ‘manage’,  score a massive own goal in the long term by asserting essentially that privacy is a sufficient reason to block disclosure.

I am aware of the rationalisation and fine rhetoric seeking constitutional protection of privilege for journalists. Their arguments should not extend to protecting them from the kind of disclosure that they themselves rely upon. It would be outrageous for MPs to assert that journalists be forbidden from reporting on who is seen to visit MP offices. Sure, an electronic record of visits is more convenient than staking out doors and offices.  But the swipe card records are just a technologically efficient form of observation. Any of Ms Vance’s fellow journalists should have been free to report on her visits to Minister Dunne’s office around the critical time that the Kitteridge Report was leaked, if they had seen them.

I do not argue that they should necessarily have had automatic access to the swipe card records, but it is not at all obvious that even such transparency is any more remarkable than the OIA disclosure now imposed on most written public officer communication.  Read more »

Find ‘Facebook’, Replace ‘Government’

The left wing loons and opposition politicians think that GCSB is going to employ 130,000 spies to trawl through all New Zealanders’ emails.

The suggestion is patently absurd.  But here’s an interesting data collection policy that is way worse than anything the Government is proposing.

I’ve exchanged the word ‘Facebook‘ for ‘Government’.

We also receive other types of information about you:

  • We receive data about you whenever you interact with the Government, such as when you look at another person’s timeline, send or receive a message, search for a friend or a Page, click on, view or otherwise interact with things, use a Government mobile app, or purchase Government Credits or make other purchases through the Government.
  • When you post things like photos or videos, we may receive additional related data (or metadata), such as the time, date, and place you took the photo or video.  Read more »

On Campbell Live’s crusade for privacy

A reader emails:

The Campbell Live crusade is attracting plenty of people to their website complaining about being spied on.

Few realise that by posting messages they have agreed that Campbell Live can “browser fingerprint” them, thereby tracking their track their internet use…regardless of whether they have cookies turned off (as browser fingerprinting tracks internet use without cookies).

They probably don’t know that they have given Campbell Live permission to pass on their internet use information to third parties, government authorities, or whoever they want.

Seems a bit rich that Campbell is campaigning against spying when he collects far more private information on the general public (with no warrant) than the GSCB ever will.

For more info just check out the privacy policy at the bottom of the Campbell Live site.   Read more »