An interesting recent complaint to the Privacy Commissioner about a privacy breach has been found to have been a lawful disclosure of personal information, not a privacy breach. 

In 2017, Oranga Tamariki requested information about a man’s criminal history from the Police and then discussed that information with his partner.

The man complained to the Privacy Commissioner, saying it was a breach of his privacy which had caused stress and humiliation.

Oranga Tamariki claimed that the disclosure of the man’s personal information to his partner had been necessary in the process of determining whether it was safe for his partner’s daughter to return to live with the couple.

As both the man and his partner were named as participants in developing the safety plan for the daughter, the Oranga Tamariki employee involved had believed that they were allowed to provide the man’s personal information to his partner.

The complaint raised issues under the information privacy principles relating to the collection and disclosure of personal information.

Oranga Tamariki acknowledged that best practice would be to share the personal information with the man either before or at the same time as it was shared with his partner.

The Privacy Commissioner found that Oranga Tamariki were empowered to collect information about the man from Police, which meant that they had not breached the information privacy principles.  

The Privacy Commissioner was also satisfied that the disclosure of the man’s personal information to his partner was appropriate in the circumstances, in light of why the personal information was collected, to ensure the safety of the daughter and make a safety plan for her return to their care.  Therefore it was held that there had not been a breach of the man’s privacy.

If you are concerned that your privacy may have been breached, it is wise to seek expert legal advice to understand your rights. 

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.