Access Directions

Principle 6 of the Privacy Act: the right of an individual to request access to their own personal information

Important consumer right that is still at the heart of the Privacy Act 2020

Access is a privacy right; New Zealanders have had the right to request access to their personal information from an agency for the past 30 years

Important in terms of holding agencies to account, as well as providing autonomy to the individual

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will have the right to provide a direction to an agency to ensure access by way of order

Improvement on the old process? Yes – now allows the Office of the PC to order an access determination forcing the agency to release information to the individual following investigation

à The agency will have to do so unless they decide to challenge the determination and appeals for this determination to be overturned by the Human Rights Review Tribunal

Currently there is no enforcement mechanism under the Privacy Act 1993 – the onus falls on the individual to pursue (using the Human Rights Review Tribunal à can take many years)

New approach removes delays and allows the Office of the PC to get the attention of agencies that might not have otherwise prioritised this right of individuals. This provides a tangible benefit to individuals.

Agencies need to engage with the Office of the OC and recognise that the individual’s right of access is fundamental

Having a customer or client or employee review the information held and tell the agency whether it is correct and/or that they are authorised to continuing using it is important. If they don’t take it seriously then they are potentially buying into a protracted period of litigation