ITx Rutherford 2019 Programme

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The ITx Rutherford 2019 Programme may change without notice

The New Privacy Act – Go Short the NZ Public

Friday 2:50pm - 3:20pm, IT Professionals NZ (Escrow Room 1)

There is an updated Privacy Act on the way, due to become law in March 2020. But New Zealand’s great history of innovative law-making –the vote for women in 1893; workers’ compensation in 1900; universal accident compensation in 1974 – is about to take a face-plant, if you happen to be a member of the New Zealand public.

On the other hand, if you are an owner of a social media platform, a bank, government agency or other organisation that holds masses of personal information, breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Faced with a clear path to alignment with prevailing global trends in privacy, successive governments have chosen to walk backward. With a few exceptions, the proposed new Privacy Act leaves individuals badly exposed to privacy abuses, whether accidental, negligent or blatantly deliberate, relative to other advanced economies.

It’ll be virtually impossible for anyone to be prosecuted for breaching privacy, as is the case now. Even if your privacy is breached, the price to be paid by the breaching party is effectively a parking ticket ($10,000, up from the current $5,000), despite recommendations from the Privacy Commissioner of fines up to $1,000,000.

If there were shares to be bought in the privacy rights of the New Zealand public you’d go short.


Chris Appleby

Principal, Hamish Fletcher Lawyers

Chris is an experienced Intellectual Property, technology and privacy lawyer who has worked in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and the Middle East. He is a Principal at Hamish Fletcher Lawyers in Nelson and heads up their IP/Technology/Privacy practice.

He has experience in both private sector and government technology-related work, with expertise in large-scale IT/telecoms infrastructure procurement for the private sector and Government, systems integration, licensing agreements, IT contracting, telecommunications and satellite law and regulation, data protection and privacy.

He recently completed a three-month mandate with Emirates Airlines in Dubai, advising on the rollout of the airline’s data protection project to comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Prior to that he was a partner and head of the firm’s Middle East Technology, Media and Telecommunications group at Dentons in Dubai and Qatar.

Chris has previously worked at Clayton Utz in Sydney and Canberra where he focused on government IT/IP work for clients including the Australian Department of Defence and Department of Immigration. In Hong Kong he was a Managing Associate in Linklaters IP team.

He is a regular contributor to technology publications and seminar presenter.