ACC is in the spotlight around privacy and it's not good news. Back in October 2021, RNZ revealed a group of call centre staff had shared client information in a private Snapchat group of employees working at ACC’s contact centre in Hamilton. Clients' injury descriptions and images were posted to a private Snapchat group called "ACC Whores". Cringe!
One image included the name, contact details and injury suffered by an athlete who has represented New Zealand on the world stage. Another detailed the injuries of a sensitive claimant who ended up in hospital after they tried to end their life. Staff thought it was innocent and funny.
Another client discovered his claim had been viewed more than 350 times by 92 staff.
ACC’s Board has since commissioned an independent review, which has found ACC’s privacy policies were outdated, not strong, and were poorly understood by staff.
I’m sharing this article today because it’s a great reminder of how important it is for staff to understand privacy and what is versus what isn’t ok.
In this case, most of the privacy breaches in the group happened during the Alert Level 4 lockdown where staff used the group as a way to connect and manage stress. Staff involved didn’t understand that sharing this information in a private social media group was a breach of privacy.
So, what can we learn from “ACC whores”? It’s pretty simple really. Follow the New Zealand Privacy Act:
- Make sure your customers or stakeholders know when their infromation is being collection
- Ensure your organisation is using and sharing information in an appropriate way
- Keep any information you hold safe and secure
- Outline how people can get access to their own information
- ENSURE YOUR STAFF HAVE RECEIVED PRIVACY TRAINING
Head to the Privacy Commissioner’s website for more information.