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Asia Pacific Dashboard Digest | Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 25 March 2022 Related reading: Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 18 March 2022

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Kia ora koutou,

After a relatively slow start, 2022 is shaping up to be a very eventful year for privacy in the ANZ region.

On 3 March, our KnowledgeNet chapter chairs for Auckland and Wellington jointly hosted the first virtual event for 2022 on COVID-19 and workplace privacy issues. Our panel of experts — Simpson Grierson Partner John Rooney, BNZ Privacy and Data Ethics Senior Manager Henry Flood, and Ministry of Health Privacy Manager Caitlin Hawkins — led an excellent and comprehensive discussion, defined in my view by the diversity of the panel. We heard employment law, in-house privacy and government perspectives on the contentious issues surrounding vaccine mandates and employee privacy concerns about the collection of vaccine status information. I was particularly impressed by Caitlin Hawkins’ openness and honesty in putting forward a Ministry of Health perspective on the recent High Court cases relating to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency’s requests for Māori vaccination data.

Giving us barely a moment to catch our breath, our chapter chairs will host their next event 31 March. Another powerhouse panel — Ewan Lincoln from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Auror Chief Privacy Officer Frith Tweedie, Briscoe Group Human Resources General Manager Aston Moss, and Department of Internal Affairs Manager of Information Partnerships Dion Chamberlain — will lead a very timely discussion on the privacy implications of facial recognition technology. I am particularly interested in hearing from the OPC regarding the recent position paper they published on biometrics, which I commented on back in October.

Privacy Week — 9 to 15 May — comes next on our increasingly busy agenda, with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner announcing the theme for this year is "Privacy: The Foundation of Trust." In a departure from previous years, the OPC plans to replace the traditional in-person conference with a “privacy festival” — a week of mostly virtual events and activities led by the community. The OPC has described this as an opportunity to listen to other people’s perspectives on privacy, to help shape the future of their work. The OPC has put out a call for Privacy Week proposals, which closes 28 March. The IAPP is working closely with the OPC to support the privacy festival, including the potential to co-host an event or two.

Speaking of trust, the OPC recently awarded its coveted Privacy Trust Mark to privacy operations platform Securiti. The OPC was “impressed by the holistic privacy management system approach taken by Securiti.” This is an interesting direction for the PTM program, which has traditionally focused on the steps that regulated agencies have taken to lift their own privacy practice. The OPC has paused the PTM program currently, to review its effectiveness. It will be interesting to see if other privacy vendors apply for the PTM if and when the program is restarted.

Finally, let’s not forget the premier privacy event for the ANZ region — the annual IAPP ANZ Summit — currently planned to be an in-person event in Sydney 23 to 24 Nov. The call for proposals is closed, and the IAPP ANZ Advisory Board will collaborate with the IAPP events team to review them and start crafting a program that will be worth traveling for.

So, it might be time to save some dates to make sure you don’t miss any of this great content and opportunities to connect with colleagues.

In the meantime, stay safe and be kind.

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