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Trade Me hands less customer info over to authorities according to Transparency Report

Thu 12 Aug 2021

Trade Me is handing less customer information over to the Police and government agencies, confirming what the company calls a ‘downward trend’.

Trade Me’s ninth annual Transparency Report is released to help New Zealanders understand what information authorities request from Trade Me, and how the company responds to these requests in relation to the Privacy Act.

The report notes that there were 817 releases of customer data to authorities in the year ended 30 June, a 14% drop from 1,190 releases in the previous year.

Releases to the Government dropped 20% compared to the previous year (163 in total). The majority of information releases went to MBIE (39), MPI (33), the Commerce Comission (20), Worksafe (15), and the SPCA (15).

Releases to the Police dropped 12%. There were also 196 requests from the Police that were not actioned because most of those requests related to people who did not use Trade Me.

Releases related to credit card fraud dropped 39% compared to the previous year. Trade Me credits this drop to its fraud prevention and bank authentication systems that make it difficult to use stolen credit cards. Other consumer protection features include a Buyer Protection policy, as well as Ping, Pay Now, and Afterpay.

Trade Me’s head of trust and safety, Lisa Kerr, says Trade Me’s trust and safety team works hard to keep ‘scumbags’ off its site.

“We’re steadfast on keeping our members safe and we simply will not tolerate dodgy behaviour.”

Kerr also stresses that the company is committed to only releasing information when it’s lawfully requested and appropriate, to ensure the law is being upheld.

“While we’re happy to assist them with the work they do to keep our communities safe, we take our members’ privacy extremely seriously. We believe in being upfront about how and why we might release our members’ information.”

Kerr says that customers should be able to make ‘informed decisions’ about using Trade Me, and it’s something that other New Zealand companies should take on board too.

“Kiwis have a right to know how and who their data is being shared with.”

Stats at a glance:

Based on the total number of information releases, subject matter included: stolen goods (19%), drugs (16%), non-delivery (13%), proceeds of crime (8%), child exploitation (7%), money laundering (7%), fraud (6%), violence (5%), firearms (5%), other (3%), distribution of objectional publication (3%), credit card fraud (3%), homicide (2%), sexual offending (2%), and missing persons (1%).

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