Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Another reason to use a false name for OIA requests

Because if you request information about a company, they may turn around and request information about you:

In a case of the hunter becoming the hunted, people making Official Information Act requests cannot bank on remaining anonymous.

Over the past two years the Commerce Commission has received 10 requests from companies wanting to know the identity of those seeking official information about them.

Three requesters - all of them companies - were identified with their consent, five had their identity withheld under the privacy protection clause in the Act, and a further two cases were undecided.

While agencies should consult requesters about release, they're not bound to withhold if you object, and s48 of the OIA gives officials absolute protection from liability if they release your information in good faith. I've started putting a "fuck off" notice on the bottom of my requests, making it clear that I do not consent to any release of my personal information to any third party, but ultimately the only way to protect your personal information is not to give it away in the first place. If you care about your privacy, or think anyone else might care about the requests you are making, you should use a false name. Its not illegal, its not immoral - its just basic privacy protection. And fortunately, we have an online platform which makes it very easy...