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Anonymity, authorisation, and legitimate attention – three lines of defence in privacy law

A review of a selection of Broadcasting Standards Authority privacy decisions

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Date published: July 2014

Reviewers: Katrine Evans, Assistant Privacy Commissioner (in her personal capacity)

Scope

In May 2014 we invited Katrine Evans, Assistant Commissioner at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, to undertake a review of a selection of our privacy decisions. She did so in her personal capacity on her own time.

We asked Katrine to assess:

  • How the approach that the Authority takes to its privacy decisions compares with the approach taken by the Privacy Act, looking particularly at the topics of identification, informed consent, informed participation, public place and public interest
  • Legal robustness of the decisions
  • Quality of legal reasoning
  • Style and structure – readability and clarity of decisions
  • Degree to which the decisions provide guidance and useful clarity on the Authority's approach
  • Consistency of approach (where possible, given small sample size).

Results

The report concluded that the Authority has one of the most developed bodies of privacy law in New Zealand, dealing with privacy queries routinely, and is expert in the field. The report found the reviewed decisions were all correctly decided in terms of substantive privacy law, that the Authority was consistent in its approach and that the decisions were clearly written and easy to follow.

The report, completed in June, also includes useful suggestions and recommendations which the Authority will review and consider – a couple of areas where the analysis could be slightly clearer and a suggested change to how the Authority approaches compensation for breaches of privacy.