New Zealand Labour Party

Social data security review too little, too late

The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for an independent review into the IT system that will hold private client information from social services.

“But to get to this point it’s taken multiple privacy breaches, including one just last week.

“The Minister is going about this data collection backwards. Her independent review comes after budgeting services have already had data sharing requirements written in to their contracts, and were already compelled to upload the sensitive information onto a faulty data sharing system.

“This independent review comes hot on the heels of a Privacy Commissioner’s inquiry, which commenced only after the Ministers failure to undertake a privacy impact assessment at the outset.

“The Privacy Commissioner stated clearly that the security of information must be paramount, and that he had concerns about privacy and client data safety in the current systems.

“Only one day before the Privacy Commissioner’s concerns were made public the IT system failed and the Minister was forced into an embarrassing u-turn on her data-for-funding scheme.

“The Government’s social investment approach relies on data sharing, yet after a series of humiliating privacy breaches, the Government has made it clear that they do not have the capacity to keep private client information safe and secure.

“The Minister has damaged public trust, and this independent inquiry has come too late for social services and people who rely on them for support. The Minister has failed to undertake due diligence throughout this entire process,” says Carmel Sepuloni.