After a long week in Parliament I often have a pleasant chat with the taxi driver taking me to the airport. So I was disturbed to find out that the Wellington Combined cabs would be installing video cameras that also have voice-recording capability. Who knows where my private chats might end up, I thought.
Thankfully, the taxi company has now announced they won’t be activating the voice recording capability. But it does show how we must always be on guard against new technology intruding on our privacy.
One would expect an SOE like NZ Post to be more attuned to privacy issues. Yet, desperate to make a few extra dollars, it sent out a questionnaire to 800,000 customers asking about personal matters, like their favourite magazine, credit card limit and partner’s income. This information was then on-sold to marketers. The bait to customers was to go into a draw for a big prize.
Thankfully, Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff gave NZ Post a big serve, accusing it of a “systematic, large-scale breach” of privacy principles.
The SOE was far from contrite, justifying its money-grubbing intrusion into our private lives, and only saying that it put its explanation that the survey was “voluntary” in bigger type.
We deserve better.