WINZ latest agency with privacy breach
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 6:05p.m.
By Adam Ray
One advocate for beneficiaries says she warned the Ministry of Social Development a year ago that its kiosks were vulnerable.
As a campaigner for beneficiary rights, Kay Brereton often protests against benefit cuts. But she also works with WINZ - last year helping test their new kiosks.
“It was to have a client experience,” she says, “and we had a client experience that showed us clients could get a long way and so we warned them”.
Ms Brereton says it was easy for her colleague to get private information from the kiosk
The Ministry of Social Development says it fixed the problem, but blogger and freelance journalist Keith Ng revealed this week that the kiosks could be used by any member of the public to access confidential records.
Chief executive Brendan Boyle says it’s “very disappointed that the system was able to be accessed so easily”.
The Ministry of Social Development is the latest agency saying sorry for a privacy stuff-up. ACC recently emailed details of thousands of clients to a former client.
Prime Minister John Key admits some agencies need to upgrade their IT systems.
“[They’re] a bit clunky,” he says.
The assistant privacy commissioner says companies are guilty of data breaches too – Google was recently told to destroy information it gathered from unsecured WiFi networks.
“I think that we used to be confident that we could lock things in a filing cabinet – in the modern digital world that’s not the case anymore,” says Katrine Evans.
IT experts say it should be compulsory for an agency or company to report a privacy breach.
“The sort of failures we are seeing are the IT equivalent of bridges falling down,” says Paul Matthews, chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals.
The Ministry of Social Development says it will get the kiosks operating again once they're proven to be secure. It will take longer to repair the public faith in its privacy safeguards.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
16/10/2012 1:08:28 p.m.
So the 4th (or is it 5th?) iteration of spin is now that the systems are 'old and clunky'
Old computers may be slow and dusty, but they have been able to be secured against what happened at the MSD for 10+ years.
Age of the system has ZERO to do with it. It is a matter of extreme incompetence in configuring the system, not it's age.
16/10/2012 10:43:44 a.m.
Everyone was on that system including your parents, grandparents or you yourself if you are are on a pension. Mr Ng shouldbe paid compensation for his services, but no the Govt is throwing words around like 'blackmail" to counter it. How many out there are gullible to buy it. Paula Benefit must stand down untill this messs is sorted out. she must take no part in winz reconstruction from now on.
15/10/2012 10:56:43 p.m.
Yes the entire MSD is a little clunky. Its regard and safety for kids is clunky. Its not OK to be clunky with childrens lives.
15/10/2012 9:57:50 p.m.
who really cares!?! a bunch of boring people searching for boring information on even more boring people.I could drive my car through a shop window if I wanted,but i don't, because it would be a bit silly wouldn't it a lot of people need to get a life!
15/10/2012 8:39:48 p.m.
Clunky government ministers wrote:
Our IT systems 'A bit clunky'??!@#% or could it be that this Govt is a bit clunky? Govt depts are being underfunded and constantly restructured, which means they're full of people on short-term temp contracts who don't know what they're doing, and they're being 'managed' by a bunch of disgustingly overpaid consultants who unfortunately also haven't got a $%#$ clue what they're doing. Better technology always helps, but the problem underlying 'clunky' technology is a lack of Govt funds, constant restructures, employees who don't have a clue what their job is any more, and arrogant, clunky government ministers hell-bent on running down public services and letting greedy and careless private consultants run the show.
15/10/2012 8:09:37 p.m.
It is quite simple, when you talk about making the public service more effecient as John Key so often does, what he is talking about is staff cuts, layoffs, and pulling costs down.
This in general always leads to things like Privacy breaches and increases in human error.
National do not know how to run a government, properly at least.
15/10/2012 7:54:27 p.m.
So much for national security wrote:
Very concerning that the biggest privacy breaches in national history involve government databases full of information about the most socially and economically vulnerable people in the nation.
15/10/2012 6:43:01 p.m.
As MSD introduced the WINZ self service kiosks on the cheap to implement this Governments state sector cutbacks both Paula Bennett as Minister and the Government should be asked to resign.
There are indications in both this ,the IRD and ACC disclosures that the governments cut backs in the funding of government departments are having operational impacts on both operational efficiency and the maintenance and implementation of outdated computerised information systems.
Viewers overwhelming voted yes to decriminalising soft drugs during TV3's nation...
A petition boasting more than 37,000 signatures against the use of animal testin...
A report by New Zealand's police watchdog into the Urewera terror raids has foun...
Calls are growing for the Auckland Council to rethink its plans for more intensi...
A Work and Income employee has emailed the private details of 34 beneficiaries t...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.