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New Zealanders more concerned than excited by AI – Office of the Privacy Commissioner

New research shows that New Zealanders have privacy concerns about the use of AI, especially because it’s seen as unregulated and can be used for malicious purposes.

In the research, almost half of respondents were more concerned than excited about AI.

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster says while AI may be new and unknown, it’s not an unregulated area.

“The Privacy Act applies to everyone using AI tools in New Zealand. My office has set expectations around how AI is used and written detailed guidance to help people understand how to use AI within the law.”

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster says thinking about privacy is vital to using AI tools effectively.

“The Privacy Act applies whenever you collect, use, or share personal information, and it applies when you’re using AI tools,” he says.

“If you’re using AI in your business then it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re operating within the Privacy Act, including protecting the information you hold, says Mr Webster.

Children accessing inappropriate content was New Zealanders’ top internet concern, especially around social media and how children’s’ personal information is protected were mentioned and it’s also a topic which is becoming increasingly important as a privacy issue.

“My office sees children’s privacy as a priority area, and we are currently looking at whether children’s privacy protections in New Zealand are fit for purpose.”

Under the Privacy Act, agencies that collect and hold personal information have a duty to protect it and respect it to avoid causing harm to people. This includes ensuring personal information is carefully managed, including that it is only shared with the intended recipient.

Organisations must ensure there are safeguards in place that are reasonable in the circumstances to prevent loss, misuse, or disclosure of personal information.

The research referred to is Internet NZ’s Internet Insights 2023 report, which was released late February this year.


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