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Sharing data: The Trade Me 2019 Transparency Report

Our Transparency Report details how we share data with Police and Government agencies.

29 August 2019

Every year we produce the Trade Me Transparency Report, which details how we work with the New Zealand Police and Government agencies when they request Kiwi’s data from us.

The Trade Me Transparency Report 2019

As a New Zealand-based company, there are times and situations where we are obligated under the law to provide information to the New Zealand Police or other Government agencies.  

These requests generally come in two forms – a production order or a request under principle 11(e) of the Privacy Act which requires us to release information to ‘maintain the law’.

You can read the full 2019 Transparency Report, or check out previous transparency reports below.

What is a transparency report?

A transparency report is a breakdown of the requests a company receives for their users' data and how those requests are treated.  

Our report breaks down every request we had in the last financial year (this latest iteration is 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019) from Government agencies around the country including the Police, Ministry of Social Development and the Disputes Tribunal.  

Hundreds of New Zealand companies supply data to these agencies every year but, as far as we’re aware, we’re the only New Zealand company that creates a transparency report and details how your data is requested.  

Creating a transparency report is about being open and honest about the requests we receive for our customers’ data. We believe it’s the right thing to do and we hope that publishing this report gives New Zealanders insight into how we work with these agencies to keep Trade Me trusted and safe.  

While there are a number of overseas organisations, such as Google, who create a transparency report, Kiwi companies seem slow on the uptake. We reckon more New Zealand companies should follow suit and be transparent with their customers.

Why do we share data with Government agencies?

We share data because it’s required by law and it’s part of being a good corporate citizen of New Zealand. Government agencies request personal data from time to time to help them uphold their obligations. The Police request data from us most frequently of all Government agencies due to the breadth of New Zealand life they are involved in and the things they investigate.  

Under a production order, we have to provide whatever the production order specifies, and with a request under principle 11(e) of the Privacy Act, we’re able to work with Government agencies to hone the request and only provide exactly what they need.  

We also have the ability to push back on requests under the Privacy Act if we believe the request is too broad.

The New Zealand Police requested data 1,366 times from Trade Me in 2019.

How we protect your personal information and data

Here at Trade Me, we’re committed to protecting your data. We only release information when it’s legally requested of us under New Zealand law and we’re satisfied it’s appropriate. If we reckon a request is too broad or insufficient, we will push back. We did that 23 times last year.  

We have strong data privacy protection measures and security to keep information safe and secure.  

We've been recognised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) for our efforts in Transparency Reporting. The OPC awarded us their Privacy Trustmark – one of only three recipients of the mark so far.

Stats from our 2019 Transparency Report

  • Requests for Kiwis’ data dipped 24% from 1,795 in 2018 to 1,366 in the year ended June 2019.  
  • Requests from the New Zealand Police dropped 31.5%, down from 1,348 to 923.  
  • 98% of Police requests were made under the Privacy Act, with the remaining 2% coming via production orders. 
  • Not all requests result in us releasing information. 29% of the Police requests we didn’t release information – this is for a variety of reasons and sometimes we don’t have the info they’re looking for.  
  • We received 443 requests from other Government agencies (excluding the Police).  
  • 213 statutory declarations to support Disputes Tribunal proceedings.

Stats from our 2018 Transparency Report

Key info from our 2018 Transparency Report:  

  • Requests for Kiwis' data dropped by 14.5% from 2017 to 1.795.  
  • Police requests for data dropped to 1,348 (down 13.5%).  
  • Of the Police requests, the most information requests were in relation to stolen goods (408), drugs (284) and non-delivery of goods (217).  
  • We also received 447 requests from other government agencies (other than Police), 27 requests from insurance companies, and 263 Disputes Tribunal requests.  
  • We pushed back on 22 requests this year too.