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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Waters, Nigel --- "Editorial -" [1998] PrivLawPRpr 76; (1998) 5(6) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 102


This Special Issue is dedicated to the recently released report by the NZ Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane of his Review of the Privacy Act 1993. It brings together his own summary of his recommendations with commentary on the report from five leading NZ experts.

Tim McBride, of the University of Auckland, sets the review process in context, and also writes on the controversial relationship between the news media and the Privacy Commis-sioner, and on the coercion of individuals into making access requests for third party purposes. Katrine Evans, from Victoria University, Wellington, analyses the issues of scope and coverage and comments on the Information Privacy Principles, on the grounds for withholding access, and on the relationship between the Act and other laws.

Privacy consultant Bob Stevens also discusses the review’s findings about the Information Privacy Principles, while Geraldine Murphy from Wellington City Council comments from an administrator’s perspective on the Public Register Privacy Principles. Finally, the University of Otago’s Paul Roth comments on the sections of the report dealing with access and correction rights and complaints processes.

The review report is not only an important signpost to the future of privacy regulation in NZ. However the government does in response to the Commissioner’s recommendations, the report itself stands as a very valuable resource, not just for New Zealanders but for anyone, anywhere, interested in a thoughtful analysis of how information privacy or data protection laws work in practice. By incorporating extensive references to overseas, as well as local experience, Slane and Assistant Commissioner Blair Stewart have provided the international privacy community — old lags and newcomers alike — with an excellent reference point, whether their interest is in the overall design or review of regulatory schemes, or in specific privacy issues. The report will be of particular interest in Australia given that the NZ Act, with its provision for codes of practice to vary the statutory principles, has been referred to so often as a possible model for private sector privacy law in Australian jurisdictions.

Slane points out that during the course of the review, he has had to take account of some significant developments, including the clarification (up to a point!) of the implications of the EU Data Protection Directive; a number of Complaints Review Tribunal decisions, and a series of reviews and legislative proposals in Canada and Australia.

Nigel Waters, Associate Editor.

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