Recent reports on a major privacy breach at ACC will help
overcome problems with a controversial claimant consent form
and restore fair play, Dunedin ACC campaigner Dr Denise Powell
Many claimants had begun to feel they were part of an
"underclass", which was not receiving the same privacy rights
as their fellow citizens.
"We've been dehumanised and reduced to a client number," she
Two recent independent reports into the ACC privacy breach,
which found "systematic failure" in ACC's privacy protection,
were likely to have far-reaching implications, Dr Powell
They highlighted, above all, that claimants still had a right
to reasonable privacy.
The president of Acclaim Otago, a claimant support group, she
earlier made submissions in person to a recent review of
ACC's privacy practices initiated by Privacy Commissioner
Dr Powell's name and those of about 470 Otago ACC claimants
were on a list of 6725 people mistakenly emailed to Auckland
resident Bronwyn Pullar in a major privacy breach late last
Concerns have also arisen recently involving Inland Revenue,
which has had 32 privacy breaches involving 6300 people in
the past year.
In its report, an independent review team commissioned by the
Privacy Commissioner took issue with several aspects of the
ACC 167 consent form, noting its broad nature.
There was "an opportunity for a better practice review" and
the team "strongly" encouraged ACC to consider "detailed
consultation" with those affected in any review.
Asked if work had begun on the consent form, ACC lead media
adviser Stephanie Melville said ACC had "commissioned a
three-year work programme to implement all the
recommendations" identified in the inquiry report, released
"Good early progress is being made. However, it will take
time to complete them all as the recommendations include
changes to governance, strategy, systems and culture," she
Dr Powell said ACC was entitled to ask claimants for relevant
medical information to assess claims, but claimants also had
the right to know what information was being sought about
them and why it was needed.
Complying with the Privacy Act would result in more humane
dealings with ACC clients, she said.