17 Oct 2012

MSD breach won't put brakes on Govt digital rollout

6:28 am on 17 October 2012

Prime Minister John Key says a one-off computer security breach at the Ministry of Social Development won't stop the Government from pressing ahead with its digital rollout across the public sector.

Sensitive information has been freely available through Work and Income public kiosks and was accessed last week by an IT analyst and a blogger who went public with the security breach.

The public service has been set a target of having 70% of public transactions online by 2017, though is also being asked to slash at least $130 million a year from its information and communication technology budget.

The Labour Party questions whether cost cutting will lead to further breaches, but Mr Key says the Government will press ahead.

"It looks to me like this is a somewhat isolated case where they had some advice to fix the system and may well have failed to do so.

"But we can't stop the digital rollout of Government because one particular programme was written poorly, and an error which was identifed and not resolved."

The Ministry of Social Development was warned a year ago about security flaws at the Work and Income public kiosks by specialist IT company that tested the system.

Deloittes will look into whether the ministry responded to last year's warning and whether the response, if there was one, was adequate.