This project involves four stages, with publications at each stage.
Stage 1: Policy Overview was a high-level analysis to assess privacy values, changes in technology, international trends, and their implications for New Zealand law. It was completed in 2008 with the publication of a study paper.
Stage 2: Public Registers was a consideration of the law relating to Public Registers and whether it requires systematic alteration as a result of privacy considerations and emerging technology. The Commission recommended a review of all public registers against a template set out in the report, with the resulting legislative changes to be introduced by way of a single omnibus Bill. The report was published in 2008, but the recommendations will not be considered by Government until the Commission completes its review of the Privacy Act 1993.
Stage 3: Invasions of Privacy considers the adequacy of New Zealand's civil and criminal law to deal with invasions of privacy. The Commission's final report (R113) was tabled and released in late February 2010. The Commission recommended a new Surveillance Devices Act to fill gaps in the regulation of the most objectionable forms of surveillance. On the question of the common law privacy tort (publication of private facts), the Commission recommends that this area be left to the courts to develop over time, rather than introducing a statutory cause of action.
Stage 4: Review of the Privacy Act 1993 is a general review of the statute with a view to updating it.
This project will proceed in stages, with reports made at each stage.
- In stage 1 of the project, the Law Commission will undertake a high level policy overview to assess privacy values, changes in technology, international trends, and their implications for New Zealand civil, criminal and statute law. The Law Commission will conduct a survey of these trends in conjunction with the Australian Law Reform Commission. A report on this overview will be published.
- In stage 2 of the project, the Law Commission will consider whether the law relating to public registers requires systematic alteration as a result of privacy considerations and emerging technology.
- In stage 3 of the project, the Commission will consider and report on: (a) The adequacy of New Zealand’s civil law remedies for invasions of privacy, including tortious and equitable remedies; and (b) The adequacy of New Zealand’s criminal law to deal with invasions of privacy.
- In stage 4 of the project, the Commission will review the Privacy Act 1993 with a view to updating it, taking into account any changes in the legislation that have been made by the time this stage of the project is reached.