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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

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Private parts

Compiled by Nigel Waters and Graham Greenleaf

Free access risks kids’ privacy

Companies are offering free or reduced prices for computer equipment or internet access to schools in exchange for the collection of marketing information from their students, according to a study by The Center for Advanced Technology at the University of Oregon, Capturing the Eyeballs and E-Wallets of Captive Kids in School: Invades According to the study, schools faced with an increasing amount of pressure to provide internet access to students are being lured into these deals by companies, and school administrators approve partner-ships with such companies without being fully aware of the invasive practices of these companies. The study argues that allowing online profiling companies to begin collecting inform-ation on younger kids will be likely to mould the expectations of privacy they may have as they become older, and could lead to a diminished sense of the proper boundaries of personal privacy. The study is available at <>.

Source: EPIC Alert.

NZ privacy codes for health, telecomms

At his annual Privacy Forums held in Wellington and Auckland (11 and 13 July 2000) NZ Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane launched two new publications. A revised Health Information Privacy Code (still officially the 1994 Code) contains significant amendments and with a revised commentary. The Code replaces the Information Privacy Principles with a parallel set of Health Information Privacy Rules, and amounts to subordinate legislation under the NZ Act. The major change in the body of the Code is a new clause 7 on internal review and complaint handling processes. This requires agencies covered by the Code to follow certain prescribed processes, with maximum time limits. The clause has been designed to be consistent with the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, administered by a separate Health and Disability Services Commissioner.

The other paper released at the Forums is Privacy on the Line, a resource document in relation to privacy in telecommunications. The Commissioner intends to develop a Code of Practice for the telecommunications sector later this year, and the resource paper is a first step to generate debate and consideration of the issues, which range from caller ID to monitoring and interception, directories and itemised billing. The paper sets out the current legal position on these issues in New Zealand and draws on experience in Australia and overseas in regulating privacy in telecommunications as a special case. The need for sector specific standards, more detailed than the general privacy principles, is suggested to be related to the importance of telecommunications privacy for freedom of speech.

Toysmart crash yields Bill

The US Federal Trade Commission has sued to prevent, a bankrupt internet toy retailer, from selling its database of customer information, asserting the company had assured hundreds of thousands of online visitors their personal data would never be shared with a third party (See E-Commerce Times Two senators have responded to the general problem by introducing the Privacy Policy Enforcement in Bankruptcy Act of 2000, which would bar ailing businesses from selling any personally identifiable information if the sale of that data violates the company’s stated privacy policy that was in effect when the information was first collected (see

Australia’s proposed private sector privacy legislation would often prevent such abuses because of the disclosure principle (NPP 2), but not where one ‘small’ business buys another.

Not-Commissioners meet in Venice

On September 27, EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Centre) and Privacy International (PI) will host a conference, ‘The Public Voice in Privacy Policy’, in Venice, Italy, to coincide with the annual meeting of the Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (see Calendar last issue). The first of these ‘unofficials’ conferences was held in Sydney in 1992, and they have paralleled the Commissioners’ Conference most years since. For details see <>.

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