Privacy law

Let’s just totally ignore the High Court’s ruling shall we?

A decision to clear Cameron Slater of Privacy Act breaches could result in all bloggers being exempt from the legislation, the Director of Human Rights Proceedings says.

The director’s lawyer, Simon Judd, told the Human Rights Review Tribunal today there was nothing to distinguish Mr Slater from any other blogger who expressed their opinions on the internet.


Nothing? Really? How about a High Court ruling that he is a journalist?

A court’s recognition of WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater as a journalist reflects the changing media landscape, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA) says.

Slater has won a High Court nod that he is a journalist and that his blog is a news medium


That is a pretty strong distinction don’t you think?

?But Mr Judd told the tribunal the case could set a precedent and result in every blogger being exempt from the Privacy Act if the charge was not upheld.

-RadioNZ ? Read more »

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 »

Why the media should be very, very careful

A Guest Post from a lawyer, via the tipline:

I was just reading another article where Duncan Garner again offered to show a transcript of the illegally obtained recording – this time to Don Brash.? I thought to myself surely if it is an illegal recording then it must also be illegal to publish it.

Sure enough:

216C Prohibition on disclosure of private communications unlawfully intercepted

(1)?Subject to subsection (2), where a private communication has been intercepted in contravention of?section 216B, every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally?

(a)?discloses the private communication, or the substance, meaning, or purport of the communication, or any part of it; or
(b)?discloses the existence of the private communication,?
if he knows that it has come to his knowledge as a direct or indirect result of a contravention of?section 216B.

(2)?Subsection (1) does not apply where the disclosure is made?

(a)?to a party to the communication or with the express or implied consent of such a party; or
(b)?in the course, or for the purpose, of?

(i)?an investigation by the Police into an alleged offence against this section or?section 216B; or
(ii)?giving evidence in any civil or criminal proceedings relating to the unlawful interception of a private communication by means of an interception device or the unlawful disclosure of a private communication unlawfully intercepted by that means; or
(iii)?giving evidence in any other civil or criminal proceeding where that evidence is not rendered inadmissible by the?Evidence Act 2006?or?section 25?of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 1978 or any other enactment or rule of law; or
(iv)?determining whether the disclosure is admissible in any civil or criminal proceedings.

So it is fairly clear that s216B of the Crimes Act has been infringed yet all week the media, and TV3 in particular, have been asking leading questions on what has been said – basically disclosing the contents of the private communication. Note that the definition is wide it includes “the substance” -?and that’s before we even get to disclosing the?existence?of the illegal recording.

Now I guess, in relation to the latter, the various media can argue they did not know it was illegally obtained – the HOS was all very innocent about it so it was ok to publish.? That is a defence if it is believed.

But given the matter is now in front of the police a lack of knowledge can not be argued.? Of course it may still be argued that s216B was not infringed (good luck but the standard is a high one of beyond reasonable doubt and stranger things have happened).? If that occurs then there is a complete defence.

However if reality and the law collide and the recording is illegal then Duncan Garner has probably already fallen afoul of the s216C as the disclosure was made intentionally and in the knowledge that it was in breach of s216B.? There is not a lot of law on this section but I would expect knowledge to be knowledge of the circumstances it was obtained, even reckless as to whether or not illegally obtained – otherwise the law would be meaningless.

Secondly he appears to be blatantly attempting to break the law by handing out transcripts.? I can see no defence under the section for handing out transcripts.

Obviously this opinion is on an all care no responsibility basis as I can only spend so much of work time researching media malfeasance – and given it is off the cuff I would prefer not to be named if you want to push this angle.