Auckland woman 'creeped out' after restaurant worker uses her contact tracing details to hit on her

While New Zealand is being told to share their personal information to help contact tracing, Newshub has discovered an example where it can go wrong.

An Auckland woman says she feels shaken and vulnerable after a North Shore restaurant worker misused her personal information to make numerous approaches to her.

Newshub understands a Subway restaurant worker has now been suspended after the woman complained.

This is Jess talking through what many of us have done in recent weeks, supplying personal information while ordering food.

"I had to put my details on their contact tracing form which I didn't think anything of. It asked for my name, home address, email address and phone number so I put all those details down," she tells Newshub.

Except in Jess's case she didn't just take away a sandwich from the Subway restaurant she was at. She also got a Facebook request, Instagram request, Facebook messenger approach and a text from the guy who served her, using her contact tracing details.

"I felt pretty gross, he made me feel really uncomfortable," she says.

"He's contacting me, I didn't ask him to do that, I don't want that.

"I'm lucky that I live with quite a few people because if that was me by myself at home - he knows my address you know - I'd feel really, really scared. Even now I feel a bit creeped out and vulnerable."

It's left Jess so rattled she doesn't want her identity known, but she's telling her story in the hope others won't have to go through the same thing.

The Privacy Commission says businesses should only be custodians of the information they're given for public health purposes and it's concerned this sort of incident could make the public wary of leaving their details.

"It's absolutely essential that businesses treat this information exclusively for pandemic management," says Privacy Commissioner John Edwards.

"If they let it be abused by staff members it's going to undermine the whole system and that can put people at risk."

Subway says it's spoken to the woman and the employee has been suspended, pending the outcome of an investigation.

If found to have misused personal information, they'll be disciplined.

"You just want to know that that information is protected and it's not going to be misused for some dude to just text you because he fancies you, that's not the point of the information," Jess says.

Subway says that from Wednesday, a new digital contact tracing system will be in place at all restaurants. Guests will register their details electronically and information will be held securely for the purposes of contact tracing. The information can only be accessed in response to government contact tracing requests.

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