20 Nov 2013
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Govt targets security with new Chief Privacy Officer role

There will be a stronger focus on privacy and security across government with the creation of a Government Chief Privacy Officer (GCPO), revealed by State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman and Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain today.

“It is important that New Zealanders have confidence in government agencies to do all they can to ensure personal information is kept safe,” Coleman says.

“The Department of Internal Affairs is being realigned to strengthen privacy and security across the public service.

"The creation of a Government Chief Privacy Officer gives additional support to the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) to set standards and provide leadership and assurance that privacy is managed appropriately.”

The GCIO is leading a two year programme to ensure New Zealanders have trust and confidence that their information is secure by improving information privacy and security practices in government.

“Agencies are reporting regularly to the GCIO, Colin MacDonald, on their growing capability and their plans to improve,” Tremain adds.

“Ninety-eight per cent of agencies now have accountability for privacy and security at senior executive level, compared to 21 per cent a year ago.

"While significant progress has been made, on-going work is required to ensure improvement is system-wide and sustained.

“Maintaining privacy and security for personal information remains a key focus for the Government, and Ministers expect agencies to account for the security and privacy of their data.”

The newly created GCPO position follows the decision to transfer the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

The GCPO role will lead an all-of-government approach to privacy and will be responsible for providing leadership, assurance and advice on privacy issues, support to agencies to meet their privacy responsibilities, and co-ordinated engagement with the Privacy Commissioner. Internal Affairs will work closely with the Privacy Commissioner to develop the new function.

State sector chief executives remain accountable for privacy in their agencies and Ministry of Justice continues to manage privacy policy.

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