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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Complaint - Bank disclosure led to assault (NZ)" [1995] PrivLawPRpr 109; (1995) 2(9) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 171

Complaint: Bank disclosure led to assault (NZ)

NZ Privacy Commissioner Case Note 5251, October 1995

Disclosure of financial information by bank ­ serious consequences ­ information privacy principle 11 -­ Privacy Act 1993 (NZ)

The complainant alleged, and the bank admitted, that her husband telephoned her bank to obtain the balance of their joint cheque account. He also requested and was given the balances of the complainant's personal accounts. Information Privacy Principle 11 places limits on the disclosure of information. The bank admitted admitted the wrongful disclosure and apologised, but the complainant was not satisfied because she alleged that the disclosure led to an argument between herself and her husband which resulted in him assaulting her.

Following discussions with the Commissioner's office the bank offered $500 compensation for the serious consequences that resulted from the disclosure. The complainant accepted this offer.

The Commissioner also found that the bank did have adequate procedures in place to prevent this type of disclosure, so there was no breach of the IPP requiring adequate security. The disclosure here was inadvertent and the employee concerned was spoken to about the matter.

Edited from the Commissioner's Case Notes.

Graham Greenleaf

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