​APF launches New Zealand affiliate

One of Australia’s oldest and most established privacy advocacy bodies has made the leap across the Tasman to open a branch in New Zealand.

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) has launched a subsidiary in New Zealand to be called Privacy Foundation New Zealand. The opening of the New Zealand affiliate is the first major step into the region that APF has made since launching in 1987.

Roger Clark, longstanding APF board member and former chair, said that the new organisation was soft-launched during a recent meeting of the Asia Privacy Scholars Network which was held in Auckland. Mr Clarke said it was partly “a bit of a case of about flaming time” but also that the meeting provided a rare opportunity to gather interested stakeholders.

“It was a combination of the opportunity and the need. There’s just so much legislation and so many technologies,” Mr Clarke said.

The new foundation’s board will comprise volunteers and be chaired by former New Zealand Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff. Her deputy will be Auckland University Business School Associate Professor of Commercial Law, Gehan Gunasekara.

The APF has been one of Australia’s most vocal privacy champions and vigorously lobbies the government on a broad range of privacy issues. Most recently, it has been an outspoken critic of the government’s handling of the census debacle and it’s hoped that PFNZ will pick-up the cudgel across the Tasman.

“Control over information is crucial 21st century humans rights issue. Hardly a day goes by without a fresh report of loss carelessness or deliberate misuse of our information. Also, the complexity of our information environment leads many people how much control they have in the big data age. They are rightly worried about whether anything is off limits to government and business. They are worried concerned for the safety and rights of both themselves and their children,” Ms Shroff said.

“People in both Australia and New Zealand are having surveillance society thrust upon them as a result of government agencies and corporations applying technology in ways that unjustifiably intrude into people's lives. The world needs specialist advocacy organisations like APF and PFNZ to counter these excesses, and to recover fair balance between the interests of government and business in social and economic control, and the needs of human beings for personal space,” APF said in a statement.

In a statement, Ms Shroff said that the organisation’s advocacy activities would be broad, including submissions to parliamentary committees, public statements on data protection and privacy and making representations to business and government stakeholders.

Read more: APF airs Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill privacy concerns

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