Trade Me requests from police, spies rising


Police, spies and other major government agencies are requesting more information from Trade Me, according to data published by the online marketplace.

The information, released in Trade Me's 2015 Transparency Report, shows there was an 11 percent increase in the number of police enquiries received by Trade Me between July 1, 2014, and June 30.

More than 1800 requests were officially received from police across the country, with most coming from Auckland, Waitemata, Wellington, Counties Manukau and Waikato.

Trade Me rejected just 1.6 percent of the enquires and releases may have included contact details and sales data. Requests typically involved stolen goods, non-delivery of items and drugs but a few touched on credit card fraud, violence, firearms, homicide, sexual offending and child exploitation.

Trade Me liaised with a total of 25 government agencies over the year and saw a significant upswing in requests from the Commerce Commission, which was up 200 percent year on year, and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), which was up 46 percent year on year.

Overall, requests from government agencies were up 6.5 percent year on year, with the lion's share coming from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Social Development, Commerce Commission, Ministry of Primary Industries and the SIS.

The company described their "strong working relationship" with the police in a blog post published to their website yesterday.

"We believe we are the only private sector organisation in New Zealand to have a formal Letter of Agreement with them. This relationship helps us maintain the integrity of our site and helps police keep the community safe," the post reads.

"We put a lot of effort into ensuring police understand how we can best help with their investigations, and we appreciate their efforts in making sure their requests for our members' data are as well-targeted as possible."

Trade Me also claimed to be "working with the SIS to ensure its processes for requests information meet appropriate standards" but did not elaborate further.

The release of information was often legally required by agencies which had the authority to request or compel the supply of information from private sector companies, the company said. Other releases were made on a case-by-case basis under the Privacy Act.

Despite the regular release of information, Trade Me claimed its member data was "very safe".

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