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Trade Me’s Transparency Report: Releases Of Kiwis’ Data Down By 14 Per Cent

Trade Me has today released its ninth annual Transparency Report, showing a 14 per cent drop in the number of releases of customer information made to the Police and other government agencies when compared with the year prior.

Trade Me’s Head of Trust & Safety Lisa Kerr said the report details the 817 releases of members’ data to the New Zealand Police and other government agencies in the year ended 30 June 2021.

"We believe the fact we saw downturns across the board comes down to the awesome work our Trust & Safety team do to keep scumbags off our site, and our ongoing commitment to only releasing information where lawfully requested and appropriate."

Ms Kerr said requests for user data are commonplace for many New Zealand companies. “We receive enquiries for information from government agencies to assist them in upholding the law.

“While we’re happy to assist them with the work they do to keep our communities safe, we take our members’ privacy extremely seriously. We believe in being upfront about how and why we might release our members’ information.

“As part of this, we publish our Transparency Report every year to make sure Kiwis understand the kinds of requests we receive and how we work with these agencies to keep our site trusted and safe.”

Ms Kerr said the company has been producing its annual Transparency Report since 2013, resulting in Trade Me being one of just six companies to be awarded the Privacy Trust Mark by the Privacy Commissioner.

“We believe in being open and transparent with our members to ensure they’re able to make informed decisions when using our platform. We reckon it’s the responsibility of other New Zealand companies to be transparent too as Kiwis have a right to know how and who their data is being shared with.”

Drop in member information releases across the board

Ms Kerr said last year marked the second year in the row there was a drop in the number of releases made to Police and other government agencies. “If we look back at the 2019 reporting period, we made 1,190 releases, that compares to 817 this year, so we are clearly seeing a downward trend.”

Looking at releases made to the Police specifically, Ms Kerr said this reporting period saw a 12 per cent year-on-year decrease, while releases made to the government dropped by 20 percent. “We also saw 20 compulsory releases made under production order in the same period, marking a 42 percent drop when compared with the year prior.

Ms Kerr said they had also received 196 requests from the New Zealand Police that resulted in no release. “The majority of those requests related to parties that did not use Trade Me and therefore we were not in a position to assist.“

Ms Kerr said Trade Me’s Trust and Safety team work hard to release only relevant and necessary information.

“We only release information if we’re satisfied it’s an appropriate request and, where relevant, it is accompanied by a lawful request. If we reckon a request isn’t up to scratch, we will absolutely push back on it,” she said.

The full report sets out this data by region and crime classification.

Credit card fraud on the decline

“We are stoked to see credit card fraud releases were down by 39 per cent when compared with the year prior. We put this down to our sophisticated fraud prevention systems, as well as bank authentication systems at the point of sale, which have made it harder than ever to use stolen credit cards or debit cards.“

Ms Kerr said her team actively monitors the site to enforce their rules and New Zealand law seven days a week. “We’re steadfast on keeping our members safe and we simply will not tolerate dodgy behaviour on our site.”

Ms Kerr said Trade Me was committed to going above and beyond to safeguard its members. “We also have our Buyer Protection policy which refunds buyers if they pay for something via debit/credit card, Ping, Pay Now or Afterpay and it doesn’t turn up or isn’t as described.”

Putting a stop to docking dog tails

Ms Kerr said she was particularly proud of the work Trade Me has done with SPCA to stop tail docking in the past year.

“Tail docking is the procedure of removing a portion of the animal’s tail. Sometimes this is done in a misguided attempt to prevent further injury, but more concerningly, tails are also often removed for cosmetic purposes. It might sound barbaric but it was once common practice.”

From time to time, Ms Kerr said sellers have listed dogs for sale onsite with their tails docked. “We released information three times on this issue in the last reporting period.

“This is just one of the ways we work together to look after our four-legged friends, and we’re proud of all the work we do to help the SPCA promote positive animal welfare.”

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