Privacy week: worrying issues and useful tools

Privacy Week 2016, 9th-14th May, Privacy Commissioner, Te Mana Matapono MatatapuLast week was World Privacy Week, highlighting issues of privacy, trust and confidence on the web and in the real world.

2020’s ICDL and Stepping UP training programmes include modules on personal data and security.

Here is our selection of recent reports and surveys, useful tools and good advice for keeping yourself safe on line.

From the NZ Privacy Commissioner

NZ Privacy survey results

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) has released the results of its Privacy Concerns and Sharing Data survey, conducted by UMR Research in early April 2016.

Tentacles grow from an eye enclosed by brickwork, and wrap around a naked man, whilst blue Twitter birds fly around.
Eye Insidious (Kerry Gray) Otautahi Creative Spaces Trust, Privacy Week Privacy Creatures Art Project

They report public attitudes to data sharing cautious but shifting:

  • Two-thirds (65%) of New Zealanders continue to be concerned about privacy
  • People are getting more concerned about individual privacy: 46% of all New Zealanders, 55% of young people (18-29 years) and 55% of those with university education.
  • Nearly all (87%) are concerned about personal information children upload to the web
  • 80% are sensitive about the content of personal phone conversations or email messages
  • Most (75-81%) are worried about identity theft, credit card and banking details, businesses sharing personal information and security of information
  • Most (62%) feel “We should not share data as the risks to people’s privacy and security outweighs the benefits”, though more open to data sharing when safeguards are in place:
    • 57% are willing to share data as long as they could opt out;
    • 59% if there were strict controls on who can access the data and how it is used; or
    • if the data is anonymised and they couldn’t be identified (61%).

Read the full OPC press release and survey report on

Ask about you? Ask AboutMe,
Click to go to askAboutMe form (new window)

About Me tool released

AboutMe is designed to help people request their personal information from government agencies. The form asks people for the key details they require, then drafts a standardised email based on the responses.

AboutMe is on

Privacy – Why Should We Care?

A 33 minute presentation by Associate Professor Nicole Moreham and PhD Candidate Marcin Betki, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington.

Other OPC tools include:

A one-minute video about the importance of privacy:

Free e-learning training modules – online training modules on the Privacy Act, the Health Information Privacy Code and Approved Information Sharing Agreements

The Priv-o-matic – privacy statement generator. Get your privacy statement sorted in five minutes.

Be emailed when your security is breached

An InternetNZ blog item for privacy week suggests – among other ideas – that you register with

“Run by Troy Hunt, an Australian infosec expert, HaveIBeenPwned collects all the datasets from data breaches that have been dumped out in the public (e.g. Patreon, AshleyMadison, Adobe), and matches them against their registered datasets of email addresses. They then email you saying that your data has been breached so you can do something about it.  For those of you that don’t want to register, there is a web form on the homepage you can use as well. Cool aye!”

IT Security Training

The 2020’s ICDL and Stepping UP training programmes include Computer Essentials covering basic data security, and an IT Security module, developed to enable you, the computer user (rather than IT professionals), to identify and protect yourself and your organisation from common ICT security challenges and you how to operate safely when online.