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Privacy Process following Work and Income Kiosk Security Breach

Introduction

The Ministry of Social Development has completed a thorough investigation into private information which was recently accessed at two Work and Income kiosks in Wellington.

The Ministry understands that the public is concerned by this breach and that some MSD clients will have questions around whether their information was accessed.

In terms of peoples’ privacy we are extremely fortunate that the risk of harm from this is extremely low because there were only two people who looked at a limited number of the invoices.  Both men returned all the information and have not distributed it to anyone else.

Around 1,432 items did contain some personal information such as a person’s name and or date of birth and some description of the medical or legal services that were purchased.

Of all the items downloaded the invoices relating to 10 individuals contained highly sensitive information.

In the cases of the eight children and two adults whose invoices contained highly sensitive information – we will be working on how best to respond to these individuals.This approach is in accordance with the Privacy Commissioner’s guidelines.

What happened?

On Monday the 15th of October the Ministry of Social Development received a USB containing 7,307 items downloaded from two kiosks.

A team led by the Ministry’s Chief Legal Advisor then put in an intensive effort to analyse these items and categorise them based on the amount of personal information contained in them, and the sensitivity of that information.

What did this team find?

Information on the USB related to corporate data. Most were invoices with no client details. However, as outlined above around 1,432 items did contain some personal information.

Of all these items, invoices relating to10 individuals contained highly sensitive information.

Was there a privacy breach?

Yes, in the sense that two individuals accessed people’s information that was of a personal nature.

In the majority of cases, we have assessed the impact of the breach to be low as Keith Ng and Ira Bailey have assured us that the information was not further distributed and they have not retained copies.

In the cases of the eight children and two adults whose invoices contained highly sensitive information – we will be working on how best to respond to these individuals. This approach is in accordance with the Privacy Commissioner’s guidelines.

Will you be contacting other people affected by this breach?

We have already begun contacting people who have approached the Ministry to ask if their details were accessed.

We will not be making contact with anyone else who had some or part of their information downloaded. Their information was not widely distributed, meaning any risk to them is low.

What CERA information has been accessed?

Of the 7307 items downloaded, around 500 were CERA invoices. CERA will determine the level of harm or risk and decide whether those suppliers / individuals need to be contacted.

What if my information has been accessed?

Anyone who is concerned that their information has been accessed can contact the Ministry of Social Development on 0800 559 009.

The Privacy Act allows anyone who feels they may be affected by a privacy breach to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.