The Privacy Commissioner announced that she has issued an urgent Code to remove any uncertainty about the handling of personal information after the Christchurch earthquake. The Code will help emergency services and others dealing with the emergency to share personal information as necessary to assist victims of the earthquake and their families.
"Although the Privacy Act already allows collection and disclosure of information in emergencies and for public safety, greater certainty will help everyone," Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said.
"We have already been asked questions by some agencies about what they can disclose. We are also aware from our counterpart agencies' experience in dealing with emergencies overseas that greater certainty is helpful," said Ms Shroff.
The Code came into force yesterday at 5.00pm and will remain in place for 3 months. At that time the need for it will be reviewed.
The Code provides that agencies can collect, use or disclose information about a person for purposes related to the earthquake. These will include helping government agencies to identify injured people, deal with damaged property, help people get medical and financial help, get information to families, make sure visitors to New Zealand can get home and co-ordinate services.
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