Consultation on information sharing with Police (name changes, deaths and non-disclosure)

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NZ Police are seeking feedback on an information sharing agreement related to name changes, deaths, and non-disclosure directions.

The proposed information sharing agreement is between Police and the Registrar-General, Births, Deaths and Marriages. It would allow the Registrar-General to regularly and proactively supply details to Police about registered name changes, deaths, and non-disclosure directions.

The deadline to give feedback is 6 November 2018.

In announcing the consultation, Police Minister Stuart Nash said:

“Under the proposed agreement, Police will use the information they receive to match against the identities held in Police’s system. Where there is a match, Police will add the new name, indicate that the person is deceased, or indicate that the person has a non-disclosure direction in force."

The Beehive release states that Police "receives a limited amount of this information already from contact with the public but is not aware of the majority of people who change their names, have died, or have a non-disclosure direction in force." The Registrar-General can currently legally share this information where it is required for law enforcement purposes. However, this requires Police to be either actively dealing with a person and querying the Registrar-General at that point or confirming information already known or suspected by Police, as opposed to Police being proactively provided with the information. The stated purpose of the proposed agreement is to reduce the risk of offenders using multiple identities, and to contribute to the reduction in the number of events relating to misidentified individuals.

The proposed agreement notes that the personal information to be shared excludes birth, name change, or death registrations with a non-disclosure direction under section 112 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 (see page 6).

The privacy impact assessment (see page 14) notes "... Individuals who change their name could be more impacted by this information sharing. ... there may be people who wish to have a new identity in order to distance themselves from their previous history or other people (e.g. those escaping domestic or family violence, or stalking)." As a result, the assessment identifies: "There is an ethical, health and safety and privacy risk that people who change their name may not wish to have their data shared with Police."

Police are asking for feedback on four specific questions:

  1. "The purpose and process for sharing information from the Registrar-General, Births, Deaths and Marriages to Police will enable Police to have accurate records in their national database. Is the purpose and process appropriate, or not appropriate?
  2. Is the range of personal information about an individual proposed to be shared too restrictive, about right, or too broad?
  3. How do you feel about the automatic, regular, sharing of death, name change, and non-disclosure direction information by the Registrar-General, Births, Deaths and Marriages to Police under the proposed Agreement: agree, neutral, or disagree?
  4. Are the proposed privacy protections on the privacy of individuals affected by the Agreement too restrictive, about right, or too broad?"

You can provide feedback in writing by emailing it to dia.informationsharing@police.govt.nz with the subject line “Information sharing agreement consultation” or posting to: Justice Policy Team, Police National Headquarters, 180 Molesworth Street, Wellington 6011.

For more information, see the proposed information sharing agreement, public discussion document and privacy impact assessment on the NZ Police website.