New Zealand Labour Party

Government can’t be trusted with private data

The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“The investigation by former Deloitte chairman Murray Jack exposes the portal, intended to be used by all social services to upload private client information, as simply not up to scratch.

“The findings are a scathing indictment of how the Ministry has handled this whole process, which has eroded public confidence and shown that private client data is not safe under this Minister.

“For months, Labour has been speaking out alongside social services, law experts, the Privacy Commissioner and users of social services about the rushed and badly-implemented process for the collection of private client data from social services.

“The report also found that the Ministry had failed to consider security and privacy issues early on, and had not taken these matters seriously.

“Of further concern is the Ministry’s failure to conduct an independent review in January, after an earlier data breach that the Minister failed to acknowledge. Instead the Minister waited until a second data breach that became public before taking action.

“Social services provide vital help for the most vulnerable in our society, and the Ministry has failed to provide adequate protections for them.

“The report has exposed glaring holes in the Minister’s data collection plan, which is supposed to be a part of this Government’s social investment data grab.

“The Government’s grand data grab plan was too fast, went too far and puts social service organisations, and the people who need them, at risk of having important and deeply personal information exposed.

“The Government’s haphazard approach to privacy has no concern for the wellbeing of people using social services,” says Carmel Sepuloni.