Reviewed by Maria Pozza
Boasting an impressive list of authors, Privacy Law in New Zealand is a collection of works which considers some of the fundamental aspects of privacy law.
The editors point out that, since their first edition some six years ago, technology has advanced at such a pace that its impact on issues of privacy has been significant, with additional implications for privacy law. In this respect, the book is a timely development of traditional privacy law which offers some analysis of the impact of technology on modern society. Equally, contributors also consider deep-rooted tenets within New Zealand society and how the advancement of privacy law may change the way we view those tenets.
It opens with considerations of the privacy law framework within New Zealand. The analysis undertaken by Stephen Penk offers a good basis upon which he later considers the Privacy Act 1993 (chapter 3), privacy in other jurisdictions (chapter 5), and the future for issues of privacy (chapter 15).
Khylee Quince considers Maori concepts and privacy, offering a unique critical legal stance to this topic.
Rosemary Tobin considers interactions between the law of privacy and other areas of law, which as practitioners we may not necessarily be exposed to in our regular legal practice. Her analysis includes the law of tort and invasion of privacy (chapter 4), as well as healthcare and privacy law (chapter 7), which provides an excellent basis for the lead into Warren Brookfields’ section on privacy and mental health.
Tobin’s chapter on media regulation provides a good basis of comparison with Natalya King’s chapter on Privacy and Reality Television. Finally, her chapter on Privacy and Children, which precedes Pauline Tapp’s Privacy Issues in the Family Court, is an excellent comparison of the differing perspectives of privacy to be found within the institution of family law. The strategic placement of chapters enables the reader to form a good understanding of various topics with the differing perspectives of the authors.
Donna-Maree Cross’s contribution on Surveillance discusses the importance of privacy within the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and the Crimes Act 1961, and would be a useful source for both academics and practitioners dealing with this area of law.
Bill Hodge and Penk consider Privacy and Employment. This topic is one which will always be of interest to a wider readership and deals with surveillance of employees, monitoring of phone calls and emails, outside of work activities, drug testing and disclosure of personal information. These considerations are weighed up against the employee’s legitimate expectations of privacy. This is a critical area of importance for those practitioners dealing with employment law or other aspects of human relations in the work place.
Finally, Judge David Harvey considers privacy in the realm of new technologies in the context of the public access to the court electronic recorders system in order to allow digital access to court documents. His chapter considers the theoretical paradigm surrounding access to information from an array of perspectives including the public and other commercial enterprises.
The book will have much utility for academics and to some extent practitioners wishing to gain an in depth understanding of the framework which underlines privacy law. The 15 essays offer unique perspectives on the issue of privacy and are certainly a worthwhile read, sure to satisfy the reader’s curiosity on the topic of privacy law from a range of perspectives.
Thomson Reuters New Zealand Ltd, 978-0-947486-33-4, July 2016, 503 pages, paperback, $148 (GST and delivery not included).
Dr Maria Pozza firstname.lastname@example.org is a solicitor with Lane Neave in Christchurch.