Crackdown on telemarketing and online nakedness

By Hayden Donnell

New Zealanders will have the option to opt out of telemarketing calls under proposed changes to the Privacy Act. File photo / Thinkstock
New Zealanders will have the option to opt out of telemarketing calls under proposed changes to the Privacy Act. File photo / Thinkstock

An opt-out system to stop telemarketing calls and moves to close a legal loophole allowing people to post naked pictures of their ex-partners online are among the recommendations of a sweeping review of New Zealand's privacy laws.

The Law Commission tabled stage one of its four-part review of the 1993 New Zealand Privacy Act in Parliament this afternoon.

It called for increased powers to ensure digital privacy, including measures to better protect against the publication of potentially harmful or offensive private images online.

Under current legislation, people are able to post naked photographs of ex-partners online without consent, the report said.

The person posting the image is then able to claim protection against legal attack under a section of the Privacy Act exempting information collected of "personal or domestic affairs", it said.

"This exemption should not apply if the collection use or disclosure of information would be highly offensive."

It also called for a further amendment to the Privacy Act ensuring others cannot share the offensive images.

Another recommendation called for the establishment of a national 'Do Not Call' register to give households greater power to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.

The Marketing Association currently operates a register of people who do not want to receive telemarketing - but companies do not have to adhere to the scheme.

New consumer legislation making it mandatory for companies to comply with the register should be introduced, the Law Commission report said.

"The Commission thinks that privacy issues in relation to online marketing and responses to these issues overseas should be monitored to see if further action is needed in this area."

More than 200 million people have opted into a national Do Not Call register established in the US, figures from the 2010 fiscal year show.

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