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ACC Client Privacy is the Real Issue

Press Release


ACC Client Privacy is the Real Issue

News that either the Minister for ACC, Judith Collins or someone within ACC itself leaked details about the meeting between ACC and the person who released a spreadsheet containing the information about nearly 7000 ACC clients to the media last week has compounded the real issue. The fact that the woman’s name as well as details about her injury are now public, would appear to be yet another breach of privacy and has further angered clients and their advocates.

“What we are seeing is further examples of what really is the issue in this whole saga,” states Dr Denise Powell, president of a support group for injured people, Acclaim Otago.
“At the heart of this story is the fact that people’s privacy was breached by ACC in what ACC have admitted was normal practice”. ACC admit there was a long-standing practice of the circulation of spreadsheets to dozens of ACC managers so they could compare their branch’s performance against others. “In the first instance it is not necessary to include people’s names in such data”, states Powell “and secondly the fact that ACC considered this acceptable is extremely concerning, more so because that information included names of people managed by the Sensitive Claims Unit. It is vital that there are robust security measures in place in an organisation such as ACC which holds huge volumes of personal information, much of it sensitive”.

Dr Powell states that Acclaim Otago intends writing to the Privacy Commissioner asking to have input into developing the Terms of Reference and outlining their concerns directly. “Consumer input is imperative, as it is their privacy that needs to be protected. We should keep our eyes on the real issue here and that is that clients’ privacy has been a concern for many years. What this current situation has done is highlight where there are deficiencies and we now have the opportunity to help ensure that such breaches do not happen again,” Dr Powell concludes.


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