PRIVACY SUBMISSION TO JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE
Today I read out my submission to the select committee in Parliament. I was able to read it out via videolink so I didn’t need to go to Wellington. I was “shown” around the room, they could see and hear me, and I them.
While I was reading my submission the camera is stationary on the chairman and pans to other members when required. I was allowed to speak for 10 minutes.
Here is what I read out:-
Oral Presentation to the Select Committee for the Privacy Bill – 10th September 2018
I thank the select committee for allowing me to speak today. My intention of wanting to speak to you is to remind the committee of the numbered points I wrote about in my first and second submissions. I want to make it clear to you how our privacy laws affect bankrupts. I will use my bankruptcy as an example, and why the need for change. And if you have any questions or require more clarification I will answer the best I can.
My two written submissions to this bill outlined the unlawful use of the privacy act against me, actions that were made by the official assignee, Mr Warwick Jones, the banks, debt collectors, credit reporters and others. You will recall I sent evidence along as well.
The 11 key issues of privacy I have identified I summarise here:-
1. Invoke the right to be forgotten and remove completely and immediately all public insolvencies from the internet – remove sections 62, 354, 368 and 446 from the Insolvency Act 2006.
2. Privacy Bill – strike out Section 30 – Public Register Privacy Principals – because that section allows any person or organisation to continue accessing and displaying our personal information without restriction or without needing to obtain our consent, or needing to ensure that the data is protected from identity theft. That section still allows our personal information to be used for profit “valuable consideration”. Section 30 allows others to continue profiting from our data without the victim being allowed a share of that profit.
3. A definition of agency should only mean regulated and licenced agents.
4. All privacy complaints to be investigated.
5. Regarding requests made for information. The bill needs to state that they must be responded to and requests actioned. Currently requests for information are ignored or don’t need to be responded to because of some other sections of law. Section 63 – who is overseeing the agency? Agencies such as debt collectors and credit reporters aren’t regulated or licenced.
6. For the victims of privacy violations, to have the right to decide themselves and on what grounds and severity if and how they have been harmed and to what extent they have suffered loss, humiliation, dignity etc.
7. Ban credit reporting and credit scoring because that industry is completely unregulated and we have no defence against their actions which can change the course and directions of our lives. To force a debtor to obtain their own credit score which was not of their making, at the cost of nearly $60 (or at any cost whatsover) when a creditor obtains exactly the same information for $22.00 is unlawful and unjust. Equifax also have had class action lawsuits brought against them in the US for privacy violations. In 2017 they were also the subject of a massive security breach and millions had their credit histories accessed. SBS bank also advised me in writing that they are training their staff to make sure they don’t open bank accounts for debtors with defaults on their credit reports.
8. List publically the names of creditors who bankrupt individuals and companies.
9. Full legal aid services to be available for people in financial hardship and formal insolvents, to defend privacy violations against them.
10. Remove section 63 of the Insolvency Act – Lisa Jane Mary Cowe Bankrupt is not my legal name.
11. Make available to the public, information sharing agreements between government agents, and corporations including banks, official assignee and the IRD etc.
Today I speak also on a personal level to explain how the privacy laws and bankruptcy have affected me first hand, because those two laws work hand in hand. Deem this part of my submission to be a victim impact statement if you like, because no government agent or organisation will consider the effect of our privacy laws and the bankruptcy regime on me or my creditors, as a result we have all suffered tremendous financial loss while others have gained from my unfortunate predicament. I know a victim impact statement usually applies to the criminal system. In bankruptcy its relevant when the claims against me have involved fraud, deception, theft and lies by corporations through the use of legal loopholes in the insolvency act, privacy act, and the human rights act for their own advantage at my expense. As a consequence of the bankruptcy and the way NZ laws are constructed that in my opinion disadvantage for life a person in financial hardship, I and my creditors have incurred substantial financial loss, and I am severely restricted by law as to how much income I can earn and how much money I can hold in the bank to cover me for any future job loss or other loss of income. My personal life is no longer private and what the NZ Gazette, High Court and insolvency register listings have made public about me have allowed other parties who have no claim in the bankruptcy to access and use my data for their own benefit. Already the information the insolvency office holds against me is incorrect and they refuse to correct it or conduct any investigation to get to the truth. Today I pay creditors outside of the bankruptcy regime. I know I am breaking the law by not complying with the insolvency act, but they don’t deserve to be disadvantaged by our laws.
There is not one shred of proof that I am aware of or any case law, that show making financial hardships public for the rest of our lives, protects the interests of the public and the creditors. Formal insolvency procedures have not reduced overtime as a result of making them public. The same can be said for crime. The publishing of the crimes of convicted individuals by the SFO does nothing to reduce offending. Their names do not need to be made public. Media freedom laws and loop holes in privacy laws allow for our rights and wellbeing to be violated and some sections in the Crimes Act such as Sections 240 and 257 do not apply to all persons or all industries.
My life will never be the same again because of the bullying I have suffered at the hands of the banks, corporations, government agents and the courts. My credit report has been deliberately altered by Veda Advantage (now Equifax) to stop me from borrowing money again ever. Nothing in our laws allows me to defend their claims against me.
I would like the people of NZ to know there is no shame in financial hardship or any insolvency including bankruptcy, when the lenders, courts and government agents, are continuing to contribute to that outcome and make public our financial hardships. Lenders have built into their business models, methods and strategies designed to keep us in debt for the rest of our lives. And for the thousands who are forced to enter into formal insolvency procedures every year, there is no government support available whatsoever. And no laws allow us to even right our wrongs.
To first remove all public insolvency listings from government websites and including High Court defences of creditor adjudications, will start to bring back the confidence in the government that has been so severely lost because of insolvency and privacy laws. It will only be through that action that will show the rest of NZ that government is truly committed to the wellbeing of the people. The next action that needs to be taken is to ban credit reporting and credit scoring because the system is being used to create harm to others. The Privacy Commissioner’s report highlighted substantial issues that have not been resolved.
I hope the public submissions presented to this bill will inspire others to come forward and share their experiences, because it will only be through our shared voices that we will see any real lasting change in NZ.
END OF SUBMISSION