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New Zealand’s biometric regs were fine last year, now need a new look

New Zealand’s biometric regs were fine last year, now need a new look

Aotearoa New Zealand privacy regulator is preparing a series of public forums, or consultations, to learn how citizens want leaders to protect their privacy from voracious data collection.

The regulator says there is a “strong case” for new biometrics rules, at least.  That is a turnaround for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Only last October, that office judged the 2020 Privacy Act “sufficient to regulate the use of biometrics from a privacy perspective.”

The commissioner’s office cites several developments that have changed some people’s mind.

For instance, use and diversification of biometrics have risen faster than anticipated. Specifically, changes in the market for facial recognition may have outpaced existing regulations’ ability to keep the technology in check.

And the Māori, New Zealand‘s original peoples, are increasingly concerned that biometric systems are biased against them.

Each consultation in the series is supposed help agencies craft better rules for protecting people’s privacy rights. The full series, ending this year, will look at other facets of privacy. The biometrics consultation is first and will run this week through Sept. 30.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner says in revisiting the biometrics position paper it published last year, officials feel now that it is “a strong case for further action.

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