One of my real hobby horse issues is privacy . . . of which each of us has very little left, and certainly far less than we assume.
As always, I urge readers to think twice about the necessity for disclosing their personal information to any organisation – public or private – before they simply plop it into the fields of online forms and the like.
Assumptions that an individual can take at face value – and rely upon the supposed integrity of – broad-brush assurances that “your information will be kept in the strictest confidence”, are naive. At best, your information will be kept according to the definition that the management of the organisation to which you’re disclosing your valuable personal data, wishes to apply to the term “confidential”.
You’re also at risk of the integrity of that organisation’s broader staff set, its systems and processes, and the security of its IT environment. And there are sufficient articles on this blog to demonstrate that there are organisations out there who don’t have either the integrity, or the internal state of order, you should rightfully expect them to have – regardless of the size of the company in question.
So . . . think twice.
Take Special Care with Large Commercial Groups
The commercial operations of most large business-to-consumer (B2C) corporations are supported by a vast network of sales, marketing and other types of service providers. Imparting your data to just one organisation could result in your most personal of information going into the marketing and other arsenals of tens of different companies – most especially if the primary organisation is part of a large commercial group of companies.
Meantime, here’s a Media Release from the Office of New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner:
Transparency Project Reveals Thousands
of Government Information Requests
Government agencies made nearly 12,000 requests for personal information from ten New Zealand companies last year, according to a new Office of the Privacy Commissioner report.
The 10 companies that contributed to the Office’s trial transparency reporting programme came from the financial services, communications and utilities sectors.
Over the trial period from August to October 2015, the participant companies received 11,799 requests for their customers’ information. Of these requests, the companies complied with 11,349 requests and declined 449 requests.
The five government agencies which made the most requests were Inland Revenue (4,670 requests); Police (3,513 requests); Ministry of Social Development (3,150 requests); Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (99 requests); and the New Zealand Customs Service (73 requests).