New Zealand Law Society - ‘Slight embarrassment’ of 3rd parties not enough to withhold video

‘Slight embarrassment’ of 3rd parties not enough to withhold video

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An intervention by the Office of the Privacy Commission resulted in a family gaining access to CCTV recording from a restaurant that may have shown an altercation.

The Office says the three customers wanted to use the footage in possible legal action after saying they were harassed by a restaurant employee.

The fast food restaurant declined to hand over the video footage.

The request for the footage was made by a union representative who acted for the complainants who said the employee had intimidated them into leaving.

They believed the restaurant failed to discipline the employee.

Under principle 6 of the Privacy Act, individuals have a right to access to personal information about themselves held by an agency, unless there is a withholding ground that applies.

Personal information may be stored or recorded in a variety of media, including video and audio recordings.

The company said it had withheld the footage because it included other people and it would be a breach of their privacy to release it.

But the Office says that slight embarrassment of third parties is not likely to be enough to outweigh the requester's right of access.

After viewing the footage, the Office decided the complainants’ interest in receiving the two recordings – one taken inside the restaurant and the other outside - outweighed the right of the others included in the footage to have their privacy protected.

The company then provided the footage to the complainants.

The office says it was satisfied the restaurant had taken reasonable steps to resolve the complaint and closed the file.

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