Facebook, AWS seek changes to New Zealand Privacy Bill

Facebook, AWS seek changes to New Zealand Privacy Bill

One local technology service provider is suggesting New Zealand needs a "right to be forgotten"

Credit: Reseller News

Two of the world's biggest technology disruptors are proposing changes to New Zealand's draft new privacy law.

Local companies are also having their say, including one ICT service provider calling for the EU's "right to be forgotten" to be adopted in New Zealand.

Facebook, which thumbed its nose at New Zealand law and its Privacy Commissioner earlier this year and is also in the midst of a privacy scandal of its own over dubious data sharing practices, is encouraging Parliament's Justice Committee to consider the Privacy Bill in the context of the "global and interconnected nature of online services and the platforms".

After spruiking its own privacy tools and controls, Facebook director of policy for Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) Mia Garlick suggests changes to the Bill's proposed mandatory data breach notification rules.

Facebook is encouraging the Committee to ensure the new breach notification regime is comparable with other offshore schemes, such as that in Australia, so organisations that have already developed processes and procedures can adopt a uniform approach in the event notifications are needed.

"This includes the threshold for when notifications are needed," Garlick said.

"We welcome the introduction of a mandatory requirement to notify for data breaches that result in serious harm, and suggest that the Committee may wish to amend the Bill to include relevant circumstances that should be taken into account in establishing whether serious harm to an individual has resulted."

The social media giant said references to “loss”, “damage” or “injury” may set the threshold for harm too low, when compared with other mandatory notifications schemes, resulting in ambiguity or "over notification".

"Excessive notification of minor breaches may dilute its value overall - people may become accustomed to receiving unnecessary breach notifications, that they may come to ignore genuinely harmful breaches and not be prompted to take remedial steps," the submission added.

Facebook submits that Australian law limits notification to breaches likely to result in "serious harm", which is assessed holistically according to a set of “relevant matters”.

"Other common features are that only breaches affecting more than a statutorily prescribed number of individuals or certain specific forms of personal data must be mandatory to report – and within a reasonable time frame which permits sufficient fact-gathering, investigation, and mitigation," the submission stated.


Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is similarly keen to see New Zealand's notification regime standardised with others.

Simon Edwards, head of public policy for AWS New Zealand said the vendor is broadly supportive of the "overall thrust" of the new Bill but draws the committee's attention to particular issues cloud service providers (CSPs) such as AWS will face with the data breach notification regime.

"These challenges, if not addressed, could negatively impact the ability of CSPs to deliver cloud services to New Zealand businesses and through them to New Zealand consumers," Edwards wrote.

These challenges can be addressed by "targeted changes" to the Bill, AWS said, some of which should clarify who is responsible for the protection of personal data.

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