Hear from New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards.

John Edwards is currently serving his second term as New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner. He joined the latest Spark Lab Speaker Series event for an exclusive talk. With a legal career that has focused on the rights of the individual, John’s role has seen him shape public perception and the understanding of privacy reflecting the shifting nature of data and the evolution of technology. 

John shared his insights on the emerging trends in privacy and what they mean for businesses. These trends include how new biometric technology creates questions around privacy.  Where do we draw the line between public and private good?
Privacy is a growing challenge for businesses. Technology is evolving and creating new ways for us to connect and share our information. As businesses, we are privy to data that can give us an edge, but use of that information also has meaningful impacts on the lives of our customers. We have a duty to use it wisely and protect the people who trust us. Maintaining trust is a growing consideration for many people. Privacy has become a selling point, and even a business advantage to connect with consumers.
John Edwards regards the role of privacy and data security as critical for every business to consider. He says it can literally be a matter of life or death, recently experienced in the hacking of local health boards. 
Upskill your people. Protect your business.
The Privacy Act sets out requirements and obligations for businesses to meet. This includes the thirteen principles that your team should be familar with and to apply in your organisation. View the thirteen principles.
Beating the breach.
Losing control of information that impacts on the privacy of your customers, can have serious implications. Whether this be through an accidental email, a hacking incident, or other breach. Preventing a breach happening in the first place is the ideal; many simply come down to simple human error such as entering the wrong email address. It’s also critical to have sytems in place to deal with any data breach that may occur. Depending on the nature of the breach this may include letting the person involved know and notifying the Privacy Commission. Make sure you’re familiar with the process.
The emerging tech.
The use of things like facial recognition reveals the question of where we draw a line on public and private data. As AI and machine learnt algorithms automate processes, challenges arise. One of these challenges is to incorporate the concept of natural justice when using customer data. We need to ensure that maths doesn’t overtake our human instinct of what is right and wrong. Just because you can use data, doesn’t mean you should.
John’s full talk unpacks these concepts in greater detail, with a mix of examples and discussion around these ideas. Watch the full talk on Youtube


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Reserve your place at our next Spark Lab Speaker Series, held on 3 November. We'll be hearing from Dr Anita Sands who has worked on a director level in organisations around the world. She'lll talk about how creating a sense of belonging within the workplace is key to helping our organisations thrive.

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