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Controlling access to your data to keep it safe

Protecting the information people supply is essential to retaining their trust and confidence. Without cooperation, willingness to provide data can be too low and threaten its accuracy or the usefulness. Protecting confidentiality increases public confidence in the data system.

Learning outcomes

  • Recognise individuals have a right and expectation that their information is kept secure, and only used as intended.
  • Understand methods to protect the security of individual information.
  • Understand how to control access to individual data.

To ensure data is safe you need:

  • Clear lines of responsibility and accountability to control access to stored unit record (micro) data
  • A system for managing access to unit record data so only authorised people have access
  • Storage of unit record data in secure areas (locked rooms for physical data, password protected databases/systems for electronic data)
  • Data management for archiving and disposing of data that’s no longer needed
  • Clear processes and guidance for staff contacting respondents about information so confidentiality of data is maintained (e.g. not divulging information about one person to another).


Principles and Protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics (New Zealand’s most important official statistics):

  • Principle 7 – Protecting respondent information
  • Protocol 4 – Confidentiality, privacy and security
    • Element 2 – Awareness of obligations
    • Element 6 – Security