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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Dixon, Tim --- "Calling Line ID policy breach" [1995] PrivLawPRpr 57; (1995) 2(5) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 91


New Zealand Privacy Commissioner Case Note 1911 - July 1994

Disclosure of information by a telephone company over the telephone - caller line identification -Information privacy principle 11

This case related to a complaint about the use of calling line identification by a telephone network company. The complainant had called the company to inquire about using their services. After the complainant had given their exchange area, the customer service representative identified the complainant by name, and disclosed the fact that she had a full screen of personal information on the customer in front of her, relating both to the complainant and the account holder, the complainant's spouse.

The customer complained to the Privacy Commissioner about the disclosure of their personal information in this form. The Commissioner made inquiries about the company's policy. The company uses calling line identification, a service which is not available to its customers. The company had developed strict guidelines to protect customer privacy and ensure that information is not improperly disclosed. One aspect of these guidelines was not to disclose personal information before checking the identity of the applicant by seeking facts from the applicant and comparing them to information on the screen, before volunteering information. The guidelines also stated that information held on the subscriber should be disclosed only to the subscriber and not to other individuals even if they had called on the subscriber's line.

The company acknowledged that its guidelines had not been followed in this situation. The company sent out a reminder to staff to remind them of correct procedures, and apologies were conveyed to the complainant. The complainant was satisfied with the company's response, and the Commissioner's investigation concluded.

Tim Dixon

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