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Privacy Trust Mark a rare honour

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 23 July 2019, 4:05 pm

The one thing you probably can't say about the Privacy Trust Mark is that it's easy to get. That's if you go by how many have been awarded since it was launched by Privacy Commissioner John Edwards in May 2018. That would be just once - to Air New Zealand for its Privacy Centre Service.

This brings the number of organisations to have been awarded to Mark to three, with the other two - TradeMe and the RealMe service from the Department of Internal Affairs - receiving the award when it was launched last year.

To be awarded the Privacy Trust Mark, organisations must demonstrate the following:

  • Has privacy been embedded into the designs (of the product or service)?
  • Is privacy a core value of the organisation?
  • Does it demonstrate end-to-end security?
  • Is the customer in control of their personal information?
  • Is there an on-going commitment to improve privacy practice?

Air New Zealand's Privacy Centre gets the tick because it is a "transparent, user-centric tool that gives customers control over their personal information in a proactive way. The tool was designed with customer trust and individual privacy front of mind."

The Privacy Commission says that Air New Zealand goes beyond what is required under New Zealand law and provides its customers with the same rights as under the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This includes the ability to delete personal information.

Transparency and user control were considerations cited when TradeMe and RealMe were given the award, according to statements made by Edwards at the time: "I am particularly impressed with the way Trade Me draws wider privacy issues in its transparency reports as a way of keeping the public informed on topical issues… [RealMe] Users can control when and where their identity information is shared and can review all of their transactions and revoke their consent at their discretion. RealMe also only collects and stores information that is required to administer the core service."

Privacy trust marks programmes are used in overseas markets, notably in the US where the TRUSTe 'privacy seal' is awarded to organisations that have demonstrated compliance with certification standards and a commitment to privacy protection.

Edwards has also previously referred to Japan's PrivacyMark scheme, which certifies an organisation's overall compliance and ability to handle personal information. The administering agency, the Japan Information Processing Developing Centre, has certified over 20,000 organisations from a wide variety of public and private sectors, from manufacturing to real estate.

With just three Privacy Trust Marks awarded in over year, New Zealand has some way to go. It is however pleasing to see that it was considered of sufficient importance to Air New Zealand that it's outgoing Chief Executive Christopher Luxon commented in the announcement: "We believe in being open, transparent and honest with our customers, which extends to how we treat their personal information. We see privacy as key to building and maintaining customer trust."

You can find out more about how to apply for the Privacy Trust Mark here



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