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Kia ora koutou,

It’s Māori Language Week — Te Wiki o te Reo Māori — in New Zealand this week. This is an opportunity for the celebration, promotion and encouragement of the Māori language. In honor of this, I’d like to share a Māori proverb that, for me, has always encapsulated what privacy is really about.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea rā te komako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau, he aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

If you were to pluck out the center of the flax bush, where would the bellbird sing?
If you were to ask me, “what is the most important thing in the world?”
I would reply, “it is people, people, people.” 

We could all do with remembering that privacy is, at its heart, about te tangata (the people). Privacy by design is founded on this idea — remembering the person behind the data and taking a user-centric approach to designing technology and process. IAPP Board of Directors Chairman Justin Weiss discusses the importance of PbD in the technology development process in a Q&A with Prosus Chief Privacy Officer Monika Tomczak-Gorlikowska. While they don’t focus on PbD’s user-centric principles, they do wisely recognize that the PbD approach is critical to instilling trust in technology users. They also share some interesting thoughts about building privacy culture and capability across global brands.

Of course, some organizations are only too aware of the people behind the data, looking to collect personal information to manipulate and control. Vice reported that personal information about 2.4 million people has been leaked from a database owned by Chinese technology company Zhenua Data. Neither New Zealand nor Australia escaped Zhenua’s attention, with reports that the firm collected personal information about hundreds of high-profile New Zealanders and 35,000 Australians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Here in New Zealand, Te Mana Mātāpono Matatapu (the Office of the Privacy Commissioner) marks Right to Know Day 28 Sept. Right to Know Day is dedicated to the people the privacy laws are intended to protect. It is aimed at raising awareness of the legal right New Zealanders have to see the information that organizations hold about them. This is followed 2 through 6 Nov. by Privacy Week, which was delayed from May due to COVID-19 restrictions. Keep an eye out for IAPP Privacy Week events in the ANZ region. 

Enjoy this week’s digest, and remember he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. 

Ngā mihi nui,


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