Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has amended the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code to enable emergency services to more quickly locate people at risk of harm who have not made a call to 111.
The amendment extends the number of agencies who can use the emergency location information system to include New Zealand Search and Rescue and Maritime New Zealand, reflecting the important role these two agencies play in responding to emergencies.
The amendment was issued on 8 April and comes into effect on 7 May 2020.
Mr Edwards says the changes will allow the active collection and sharing of the location of any cellular device where the emergency service provider believes there is a serious risk to the life or health of a person.
The previous system was passive, relying on a 111 call, and so did not assist emergency services to actively search for a person who had not made an emergency call.
Mr Edwards says examples of how the system might be used include locating people who are lost in remote areas, or who are believed to be at risk of harming themselves but who have not made or cannot make an emergency call.