NZ consumer data right targeted for next government’s agenda

Ministry has begun public consultation on data portability, in preparation for advising new government after the election.

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Giving New Zealanders greater control over their data could enable easier switching among providers and bring to market new products and services. That’s according to a discussion paper from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), seeking feedback on the introduction of a consumer data right (CDR).

Companies that have business operations in the European Union will be familiar with the concept, as it is baked into its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is the idea that a consumer can request the secure transfer of their data from one provider to the another in a machine-readable form. Data portability was, however, left out of the New Zealand Privacy Act that comes into effect later this year.

The CDR concept crosses three areas of law—privacy, consumer, and competition—and it may be preferable to have its own stand-alone act.

The MBIE document favours the approach taken by the Australian government, which introduced a CDR in 2019, and which it refers to as the ‘sectorial designation option’. A high-level framework is established in legislation, but rules are then created and applied to designated sectors. While this offers a tailored response that takes into account the particular requirements of sectors such as banking, insurance and electricity, it also means that other sectors may miss out on beefed-up privacy protections.

How a CDR could change IT systems

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