Archive for the 'Privacy' Category

Privacy risk of ANZ National Offshoring

Finsec has written to the Privacy Commissioner, Marie Shroff, to ask for an investigation into the privacy implications of the transfer of ANZ National banking operations to Bangalore, India.

Finsec’s questions include what steps the bank is taking to ensure information security, whether privacy breaches in India will be dealt with through the provisions of the New Zealand Privacy Act, and what obligations ANZ National will have to tell customers in relation to information privacy.

There is also evidence that public concern about the offshoring is growing. In a letter to the Dominion Post this week, Serge Kemelmager of Silverstream asked whether “we want our personal data stored in India? There is already a track record of employees of call centres and other holders of personal data there selling it to the underworld for illicit news. …..This country should have legislation prohibiting any holder of personal or other information from transferring it or having it processed outside New Zealand without the consent of the individual and/or company involved.”


No sex please, we’re BNZish

StockingsBNZ has recently announced a new Code of Conduct, which comes into effect last week.

Included in the code is a small section called ‘Conflict of Interest’ which requires that employees seek guidance from their people leader to determine whether a conflict of interest exists in the following situations:

When a family member or partner of an employee becomes employed or is employed by a competitor of the Bank then a conflict may arise.

Finsec has some concerns about the Code of Conduct. Why weren’t staff consulted? Isn’t this all a bit invasive and prurient? Do the majority of staff really have that many commercially sensitive secrets that the bank should be worried about being disclosed over a pillow?

If taken to an extreme this policy could see bank managers interfering in people’s private lives , wanting to approve who they can enter a relationship with and how. Now we know that most bank mangers at BNZ wouldn’t behave in this way, but we also know that most bank tellers at BNZ would not be able to disclose much about BNZ’s international hedge fund trading strategy or its business acquisitions portfolio.

The policy also seems somewhat arbitrary. Why does it focus for instance upon partners and family members when people can also talk about what goes on at work (and often choose not to) to friends, colleagues, bus drivers, talkshow hosts and others. So two major problems with the code – it focuses on people’s private lives, rather than their responsibility as employees, and it seems to focus on the wrong people. Surely those with the biggest potential conflict of interest are somewhat higher up the salary chain than the average BNZ worker.

(thanks to duboff for the photo)

Has the US been spying on NZ banks?

Eye Spy A British organisation has laid a complaint here in New Zealand, and in 32 other countries against the US Treasury and CIA for spying on millions of financial transactions made through New Zealand banks in the last year.   The US claims that the spying is part of its anti-terrorism efforts, but British-based privacy watchdog and New Zealand Green MP, Keith Locke, claim that the spying is an illegal invasion of people’s privacy.   The banks involved include ASB, Kiwibank, Westpac, and ANZ National.   This issue is making news all around the would, with thousand of financial institutions involved.   For instance a Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, is campaigning against:

“the recruitment of the private sector in a U.S. “war on terror” that by most accounts has been ineffectual, and as a side-effect has given Washington unprecedented powers to snoop into the personal affairs of Canadians and other citizens far beyond its own borders.”

A Toronto Star columnist argued last month that:

“There by now needs to be some push-back, some hard questioning of the efficacy of the sometimes indiscriminate and wide-ranging collection by the United States of private information about citizens around the world. The Canadian financial sector could show the way by undertaking that task now, for the sake of its customers and its credibility.”

New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner, Marie Schroff, indicated last night on National Radio, that she would be watching Canadian privacy investigations closely for a lead on how to progress the issue here.

(thanks to Thomas Sly for the photo)

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