Jan 132013
 January 13, 2013  Posted by  Non-U.S.

I hope the New Zealand public reads this news report by Bevan Hurley, because this strikes me as over the top:

High street finance companies are forcing customers to sign waivers allowing them to seek private information from dozens of government departments and private companies.

Geneva Finance can now seek private information from agencies including the police, Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections before approving loans.

In one case, the company published a customer’s name, date of birth and address online in a bid to track him down.

Privacy watchdogs take a dim view of such access and disclosure.

Assistant Privacy Commissioner Mike Flahive said he would question whether a finance company needed to ask the police if someone had a drink-driving conviction from four years ago and whether this was relevant to whether the person could pay money back.

In the past year, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has received 20 requests for personal information about taxpayers.

Finance companies can also seek information about clients from telecommunications companies and from past and present employers.

Some loansharks even require clients to sign power of attorney, allowing lenders to make all kinds of financial decisions on a borrower’s behalf.

Read more on The New Zealand Herald.

Does the Privacy Commissioner have the authority to call a halt to this? What New Zealand law, if any, protects citizens from making a loan contingent on waiving too much privacy?

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