New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has announced that an investigation into the country's Ministry of Social Development revealed years of privacy violations under the Bill of Rights 1990. According to Edwards' report, the ministry violated citizens' rights to privacy with its tactics regarding their investigations into benefit fraud. The improper practices, which were brought forward by Auckland Action Against Poverty, included the unnecessary collection of beneficiaries' intimate text messages and a failure to ask for information from those under investigation before retrieving it from a third party. "The Privacy Commissioner report is a sobering picture from years of attacks to people on the benefit by the Ministry in the form of invasive investigations and refusal to update its practices since 2012," AAAP Coordinator Ricardo Mendez March said.
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