Stats NZ is going to be working with phone companies to track our movements every hour:
The population density programme will launch next month and Statistics Minister James Shaw said he was aware there would be perception issues around every step being recorded.
Mr Shaw said cellphone companies and credit companies already held that level of detail, but for the first time Stats NZ was able to act as a data broker to identify trends and patterns with the anonymised information.
I find this a wee bit creepy.
Phone and credit card companies aren’t the government and we have a choice about whether or not we use them.
He told MPs at a select committee today, there would be concerns about people being able to hack into the system and get hold of people’s private details.
“It is very rigourous and we’ve had criticism in the past of people saying it’s really difficult to get access to that information to be able to use it for research purposes – well that’s because it’s under lock and key,” he told RNZ following the committee.
It was supposedly difficult to get Budget information last month.
However, Mr Shaw said the security of the information would require increasing attention over time.
The programme has been assessed by the Privacy Commissioner and a data ethics panel is being set up to keep watch.
Mr Shaw said the Census already asked New Zealanders where they were on a particular night and the tracking just an extension of that using information that was already collected.
I don’t go anywhere that would cause me any concern should the government know about it, but that’s not the point.
Filling in a census form once every six years is very different from tracking our movements every hour.
We’re required to fill in the forms, but are phone companies required to give this information and whether or not they are, shouldn’t they be telling us what they’re doing with any information they hold on us.
Are they going to ask us for our permission to share our information and can we say no?