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Green Party asks Privacy Commissioner to step in on ACC

Green Party asks Privacy Commissioner to step in on ACC

The Green Party is calling on the Privacy Commissioner to investigate systemic issues relating to the privacy of individuals’ information at ACC.

Green Party ACC spokesperson Kevin Hague said ACC’s regular breaching of people’s privacy suggested it was a cultural and systemic issue which must be investigated independently.

“ACC has proposed to investigate itself but, given its history of mishandling people’s sensitive information, this would be highly inappropriate.

“ACC’s management and board and the Minister of ACC were all aware of repeated previous privacy breaches at the organisation, but failed to act to protect the public.

“The public can’t be expected to trust the organisation won’t perform a white wash. If we want to fix the problems at ACC, an investigation needs to be conducted by an independent body.”

Mr Hague this morning wrote to the Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff requesting she investigate ACC’s processes and systemic mishandling of people’s private and sensitive data.

“I’ve been approached by many people, some of whom are being supported by the sensitive claims unit, seeking an investigation into the privacy breach,” Mr Hague said.

“This is a serious issue that the Government was aware of and failed to act on — it requires public scrutiny.

“Government organisations can’t play with people lives like this. People need to know their private and sensitive information is safe.”

ACC failed to comply with its obligations under Privacy Principle 5: Storage and Security of Personal Information, and could therefore be dealt with by the Privacy Commissioner.

Note: Other high profile privacy breaches include the Ports of Auckland this week allegedly supplying right wing blogger Cameron Slater with a staff member’s personal information, and Paula Bennett supplying media with personal details of a beneficiary she had a public spat with.

Systemic issues at ACC include but are not limited to:

1. Reports that up to 50 ACC staff outside of the sensitive claims unit had access to information about individuals within the sensitive claims unit that they should not have had access to.
2. Reports that ACC was aware of the breach of privacy for over three months but did not inform any individual affected until the issue became public via the media.
3. The failures in the systems and processes that permitted such a significant breach of privacy to occur.
4. The actions of the CEO and the board of ACC once they were made aware of the privacy breach.
5. The fact that there have been other significant breaches of privacy at ACC within the last few years.

ENDS

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