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Privacy Commissioner Wants Power to Police ‘Data Brokers’

New Zealand’s privacy commissioner is seeking additional powers to monitor companies that collect and sell personal data. Assistant Privacy Commissioner Blair Stewart, said the current version of the Privacy Act clears the way for enforcement only after a complaint is filed, but many citizens do not know of the existence of “data brokers”. Data brokers collect publicly available information and personal details gathered by other means, including surveys doubling as prize giveaways. They may know details about you or your household, including ethnicity, property value, what foods you buy and how often you travel. The privacy commissioner has supported a Law Commission recommendation to update the law, giving the commissioner powers to serve compliance notices on organizations. The Government is expected to respond to the Law Commission’s recommendations next month.

“People don’t tend to complain about certain practices, if the sort of practices go on in the background and they can’t see what’s happening,” said Stewart.

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