25 Mar 2013

Govt's tech boss looking at latest privacy breach

2:00 pm on 25 March 2013

The State Services Commission says the Government's Chief Information Officer is looking into the latest information breach by a government department.

Information held by the Earthquake Commission on 9700 people was emailed in error to someone outside the organisation on Friday.

The information was sent after the Outlook email system being used by a staff member automatically completed an address that was not for the person it was intended for.

State service agencies have been criticised by Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, who is urging the sector to get systems under control.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie says he understands the Chief Information Officer is looking into this human error breach as the Government finalises another privacy review focused on publicly accessible internet systems.

That review began last year following a security breach at the Ministry of Social Development, when thousands of files were accessed from a Work and Income kiosk.

Ms Shroff says public trust is being eroded by government sector breaches. She says government agencies have huge databases of information which the public is forced to provide, and in return they need to look after the information properly.