State will 'know everything about you'

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014

Relevant offers

Politics

Smacking ban's 'suicide link' Chinese minister's mystery visit Flip-flopping key to hold on to power Collins' axing unavoidable in the end If I was Prime Minister . . . The secret diary of . . . the leaders' debate Laila Harre, the brittle battler Health policy missing in action Judith Collins resigns, says she's a victim Party leaders call for full investigation of Government

Departing privacy commissioner Marie Shroff has warned the state will soon know nearly everything about you, even after you are dead and gone.

Giving her valedictory speech in Wellington yesterday, she also argued for stronger oversight of our spy agencies and bigger legal teeth for the small privacy watchdog.

Shroff said the Government, like Google or Facebook, was increasingly providing "stacking" or wraparound online services that collected vast tranches of digital information.

"There is also a government stack developing, which will share our information and dominate much of our life in the future," she said.

"When we die, the fact is digitally recorded, but while we may be gone we are not digitally forgotten."

Privacy controversies, such as the Government Communications Security Bureau's potentially illegal spying on Kiwis, had made the public far more concerned about personal information, she said.

"The public have woken up to the fact that their information is no longer completely safe."

She also said it was difficult to know what information the GCSB or other overseas intelligence agencies were collecting about New Zealanders, because there were inherently secretive. "The intelligence agencies do need more oversight."

Shroff has been privacy commissioner since 2003, during which time the digital storage and sharing of personal information has exploded.

She has been at the helm during some of the biggest public sector privacy breaches in New Zealand, including the ACC and Ministry of Social Development kiosk breaches of 2012.

Last year, the Government changed the law, giving state agencies more power to share information with one another.

The commissioner's office received 824 privacy complaints last year, most of them concerning the state's mishandling of their information.

Wellington lawyer John Edwards will replace Shroff next month.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Judith Collins' resignation hurt National at the polls?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: Judith Collins resigns, says she's a victim

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content