Transparency Report 2017

Like many NZ-based companies, we receive enquiries for information from NZ government agencies to assist them with their responsibilities to maintain the law.

We've put together our fifth 'Trade Me Transparency Report' to give insight into how we work with government agencies to help keep our website trusted and safe.

We believe Transparency Reporting is the right thing to do. It's only fair that our members know how their information is being requested.

For more information and to check out the full report see our Trust & Safety blog or read our media release below.

Transparency Report released: requests down 1.6 per cent

Trade Me released the fifth edition of its annual Transparency Report today, with the number of requests received ticking down 1.6 per cent year-on-year, from 2133 to 2099.

The Transparency Report analyses the requests for Trade Me member data from agencies and organisations. Trade Me’s Head of Trust & Safety Jon Duffy said it remained a lone voice in the transparency wilderness and it was disappointing other companies had not followed suit.

"We produce the Transparency Report because our members have a right to know how their data is requested and why we release it each year. It's the right thing to do.

"We're a bit surprised, and quite disappointed, that we remain the only company in New Zealand issuing a transparency report. We’ve been urging the Kiwi business community to do this for a long time and had conversations with a number of companies about doing this, but in 2017 nothing's emerged."

Mr Duffy said there were companies that receive "a heck of a lot more requests than Trade Me" and New Zealand consumers had a right to know how their data was being shared. “We know releasing this information is a big decision, especially if businesses are concerned their users may not support the choices being made around their data. We had the same concern too, but we’ve never looked back."

He said Government agencies should also be detailing how, how often and why they are requesting data from New Zealand businesses. "It cuts both ways," he said. "And we think there needs to be more scrutiny on the information flows."

Numbers and processes

The number of requests that Trade Me received from Police increased from 1508 in 2016 to 1559 in 2017.  Elsewhere there was a decline in requests from government agencies (other than Police) from 625 down to 541 this year. In 2017, 20 requests were received from insurance companies and 312 in relation to Disputes Tribunal issues. Five complaints were made under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

The Transparency Report sets out data broken down by region, agency and crime classification.

Mr Duffy said member data was provided via a compulsion order or the Privacy Act. "This year, 13 per cent of requests were compulsory, and 62 per cent were via the Privacy Act. The remaining 25 per cent of requests that reached our inboxes did not see any information released."

He said Trade Me still preferred to receive initial requests under the Privacy Act, because it allowed the company's Trust and Safety team to help agencies hone their request appropriately.

"We'll always push back on the request if we don’t think it’s sufficiently detailed, which we did 68 times this year. We pushed back on 3.4 per cent of Police enquiries and 2.6 per cent of enquiries from other Government organisations.”