The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has released an engagement document proposing to broaden the notification rules under the Privacy Act 2020 (the Act). The proposed rules would significantly change how real estate agencies and REINZ collect and use sales data.
Current notification rules
The exceptions provided for in privacy principles 2 and 3 mean when an individual authorises the collection and sharing of their personal information (e.g., sale price and address of a property) to a third party — such as REINZ — by way of an agent, the third party does not currently have to notify the individual that they have obtained their personal information. This is because the third party is not directly collecting that information from the individual.
The proposed changes
The MoJ wants to close this loophole by utilising one or more of the below options:
broadening the notification requirement under privacy principle 3 so that third parties have to notify the individual concerned;
narrowing exceptions to privacy principle 2 (that allow third parties to collect personal information indirectly);
requiring the disclosing agency to notify the individual concerned that their information has been disclosed to a third party (additional administration for real estate agents); and/or
adding a new, separate privacy principle.
What the proposed changes mean
The above changes proposed would significantly change the way entities such as REINZ and real estate agencies collect and use sales data. The real estate agency and REINZ would be required to notify every single individual party (vendors and purchasers) that they had received or passed on the personal details, whether to REINZ or another third party.
This will create a significant administrative burden, but more importantly, third parties such as REINZ do not have the ability to contact the parties to the sale as we do not have their contact details.