'Privacy's not dead' - Privacy Commissioner

New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner says while we aren't in a post-privacy world, our understanding of it is changing.

"I keep a folder of magazine headlines and clippings heralding the death of privacy, it's been going since the 1950's," Commissioner John Edwards told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

"Just recently, I saw an article titled, 'Getting by in a post-privacy world.' We're not in that world. The concepts of privacy are changing. What we are increasingly seeing is consumers and citizens demanding greater transparency."

Mr Edwards says it is important New Zealanders are aware of how seemingly 'free' services like Facebook earn their money.

"It's become a bit of almost a cliché in our world that when you're offered something online that is free, that is attractive to you, you are actually contributing your data. Your personal information, in this economy, is currency."

The Commissioner says our current legislation dealing with privacy, The Privacy Act, needs to be updated because it is too reactionary

"In New Zealand, we have a particular cultural legal approach to enforcement of this law. We say the law sets out these principles which businesses are supposed to comply with, but they're not enforceable until someone suffers some actual harm."

Mr Edwards says we also need legislation forcing companies to inform you about privacy breaches.

"We've slipped way behind most of the countries that we compare ourselves to in the world in this regard.

"There's no obligation on a company that you have entrusted your personal information to who loses it or compromises it to tell you about it."

Justice Minister Andrew Little introduced 'The Privacy Bill' in April, which proposes to repeal and replace the Privacy Act.

The Bill proposes mandatory reporting of privacy breaches, among many other changes. A closer look at the draft legislation can be found here

The Privacy Bill is currently at select committee stage.

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