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Information-sharing by the government: deja vu

By Steven | April 11, 2013

Radio NZ is reporting that:

The Government is considering a massive expansion of data-sharing between ministries and agencies and has asked the Treasury to assess the potential impact on people’s privacy.

This seems to be a closely-related extension to the recent information-sharing legislation, which was preceded by a ministerial briefing on information-sharing by the Law Commission.

So, why this:

The Treasury has advertised for a consultant to assess assess the privacy implications of greater government data-sharing, and is seeking bids for the work.

Why isn’t this being done by the Law Commission (which incidentally has also done a vast amount of other work on privacy issues recently)? Or by the Privacy Commmissioner, who might be expected to have some relevant expertise too?

Topics: Privacy Act | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Information-sharing by the government: deja vu”

  1. Glassboy Says:
    April 11th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I haven’t seen the advertisement but I did wonder if they might be looking for a specialist data architect who can set some sensible policies for data masking and other techniques. But the Treasury did seem a bit odd since they aren’t even represented on the Data and Information reuse steering group

  2. Steven Says:
    April 11th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    That might make some sense, but that doesn’t quite line up with what Treasury says it’s looking for.

  3. JCELaw Says:
    April 15th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I don’t think this is really the Law Commission’s ken – it’s not a law reform issue as far as I can see. Treasury seems to think it can do what it wants to do under existing law, but wants to know the best way to do it, consistent with current legislation. It would be pretty unusual for every govt agency with a new idea about how to use personal information to ask the LC to provide advice.

  4. Steven Says:
    April 15th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    John: Yes. A lesson to me in reading more carefully. I had focussed on the “massive expansion” and “single hub” proposals – which would go well beyond the data-sharing laws suggested by the Law Commission and passed by Parliament.

    But I’d overlooked the anonymity protections. That makes it a lot less massive, at least in terms of its privacy implications. If it’s done right. Which means Glassboy is probably right that this is about the technical aspects and you’re right that this doesn’t need to go back to the Law Commission.


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