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To: Raymond Huo, Chairperson of the Justice Select Committee
Tell our politicians to protect your privacy online
To the MPs on the Justice Select Committee currently considering changes to the Privacy Act.
I am writing to you hoping you take this opportunity to expand New Zealanders' digital rights by recommended increased digital privacy protections, following the lead of Europe and California.
The recent hack of 50 million Facebook users show the dangers New Zealanders face online. The Privacy Act needs to take into account these risks and require disclosure from companies like Facebook when they are hacked.
It also needs to follow the GDPR and give users more rights to control how their information is used online.
Why is this important?
Facebook have announced fifty million Facebook accounts were compromised by hackers, who could have had complete control of your account, and any apps you use Facebook to log in to.
This is being described as the worst data breach in Facebook's history. It means fifty million people, including New Zealanders, could have had their messages, private information, Instagram, Tinder and other apps accessed by hackers.
That opens you up to fraud, theft, and blackmail.
This is the first serious hack of Facebook since the European Union passed new data protection laws, the GDPR. Because of that Facebook had to report the hack within 72 hours and will face extra scrutiny for how they deal with it. If the company is found to have not done enough to protect users, they could be liable for billions of dollars in fines from regulators.
They will face few consequences in New Zealand though. Our Privacy Act was written in 1993, and doesn’t have ways to deal with hacks like this.
The good thing is the act is finally being modernised, and the MPs deciding what changes to make report back next month. Tell them they should expand protections for your information online.
At ActionStation we have advocated for changes to the Privacy Act to include meaningful penalties companies who fail to tell you when they’ve been hacked. We also support other GDPR style regulations that would give you more control over how your data is used.
We can’t let this become normal. This hack shows that neither Facebook, or any other corporate whose business model relies on gathering increasing amounts of your private data, can be trusted.
If one of the richest companies ever to exist isn’t able to, or isn’t interested in, protecting us from outside attackers, we need to change the way they work.
In the past two years we seen have scandal after scandal showing social media platforms, which are run by some of the wealthiest people to ever live, being used to spread misinformation, discourage voter turnout, organise violence and harassment, and having a cavalier attitude to protecting your sensitive information.
It's time to change things. Email Raymond Huo (the chair of the Justice Select Committee) now to ask him to protect our privacy.