Privacy laws to be overhauled

PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 16:43 27/03/2012

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The Government plans to overhaul 20-year-old privacy laws following ''huge changes to technology''.

Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced the Government would repeal and re-enact the Privacy Act 1993 following a Law Commission report released last year, which made more than 100 recommendations.

"Our current privacy law has been in place for almost 20 years and predates the creation of the internet," Collins said.

"Huge changes to technology and information flows have occurred during that time and they have overtaken our privacy laws."

Collins said people were expecting more information to be available quickly and were more likely to share "private information''.

"The foundations of the Act are sound, but it needs to be updated to reflect our changing attitudes and the way people, business and government use information in the 21st century."

The Justice Ministry was reviewing the Law Commission's recommendations and would report back to the Government in September.

Further announcements about specific policy proposals would be made later this year, Collins said.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff welcomed the government's plans.

"Things have changed enormously since the Privacy Act was passed nearly twenty years ago," she said.

"Privacy is as important to people as it's ever been. But the Act doesn't always give people the protection they expect and need, particularly in the context of modern technology.

"The need for reform is urgent. We want people to trust the new ways in which business and government work. They won't do that unless they're sure that their personal information is properly safeguarded."

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