Access to Information: Help people to ask for their information
The Data Protection and Use Policy (DPUP) recommends making people feel confident about requesting access to their personal information.
Service users may need to engage with a range of agencies who hold information about them. They may feel overwhelmed asking for their information or intimidated by the process. Sometimes people are simply too shy to ask.
Disability, culture, language or literacy may also prevent people from feeling comfortable asking to see their information, and can also result in general concerns about where their information is and which agencies have access to it.
It’s important to note that the Privacy Act 2020 requires agencies to “provide reasonable assistance” to people who wish to request access to their personal information or request correction of their personal information.
Practical and proactive ways to help
- Offer the information about rights, without being asked for it, in a safe and comfortable way that supports the service user’s ability to absorb and understand the information being provided.
- Check with service users on a regular basis to see if they would like to update their information, or if their circumstances have changed.
- Help people to use the Privacy Commissioner’s AboutMe tool
- Offer to act as the person’s agent or representative (where the person wants to request their personal information from another agency) and make appropriate requests on their behalf.
- Offer pre-prepared summaries listing which agencies will hold what kinds of information. This can help lessen concerns about agencies knowing things they would not ordinarily know, and/or focusing the conversation on the agency or agencies the person is most interested in.