News Item

August 2016

New $2M fund for research on information challenges

A new, independent $2 million research fund is now available for projects that will better prepare New Zealand for the challenges of the information age.

The New Zealand Law Foundation’s Information Law and Policy Project (ILAPP), launched at Parliament tonight by Justice and Communications Minister Amy Adams, will develop law and policy around IT, data, information and cyber-security.

Law Foundation Executive Director Lynda Hagen says “The global nature of information poses threats and opportunities for New Zealand how we manage it, and trade in it.”

ILAPP seeks to focus New Zealand’s best experts on solutions that are right for us. The project will bring together teams of experts to examine challenges and opportunities – seven broad themes of enquiry have been identified and research projects will align with these:

  • The global nature of information how we manage it and trade in it.
  • Cyber security and crime what capabilities are needed to protect against this?
  • Social change following technological change how is technology affecting society and how can the law keep up?
  • Ownership/exploitation of data how can citizens control use of their data?
  • Philosophical notions looking at the impact of technology on the State and what that means for democracy and other constitutional issues.
  • The ethics of inference algorithmic decision making and its implications for society.
  • The exclusionary effect of technology catering for citizens and business lacking the ability to access and unlock the benefits of technology.

Photo of Minister Amy Adams with Law Foundation Chairman Dr Andrew Butler at the launch of the ILAPP Project

The research teams will have around three years to complete their projects.

University law schools are working closely with the Law Foundation on the project. A special feature of this project will be its collaborative approach to research. Law faculty deans will help develop cross-institutional research proposals and bring together the best available multi-disciplinary teams from New Zealand’s talent pool. The Law Foundation will be sponsor, funder and administrator of research under ILAPP.

In addition to legal experts, potential collaborators include computer scientists, economists, sociologists, philosophers, IT and data specialists, business, cyber-security experts, government/public sector, crown research institutes, civil society and users.

The Law Foundation will work collaboratively with government and private interests, but the research outcomes must serve the wider public rather than any vested interest.

Ms Hagen says “We expect the projects to have practical outcomes, in particular on how New Zealand can gain commercially, and be protected, through technology developments. The projects are expected to be future focused, to identify ongoing issues and propose solution frameworks.”

The scope of ILAPP has been developed in consultation with many interests including experts from the law schools, the Government’s 2015 cyber-security strategy, InternetNZ, the Innovation Partnership, the Data Futures Partnership, Google New Zealand, Spark, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, to name a few. ILAPP will be assisted by a 10-member independent specialist advisory review committee.

Link to a more in-depth article in LawTalk 896, 9 September 2016, P38-39
Further information, including how to submit applications and expressions of interest, is available on the Law Foundation’s web page for the Information Law & Policy project


  • Lynda Hagen, Director, NZ Law Foundation: 04-499 1038 or 027-4477072
  • Richman Wee, Project Manager, NZ Law Foundation Information Law & Policy Project: 04-499 1037 or 021-623622