Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Burglars Commit 20,000+ Privacy Heist - Wishart

EMBARGOED TO 00:01 hrs, 23 September 1999

The author of a bestselling book on privacy says a burglary that’s netted criminals the names, addresses and possibly even credit card details of thousands of New Zealanders may be the biggest ever privacy breach in this country.

Journalist and author Ian Wishart, whose book The God Factor was published two months ago, warned at the time of its release that a security bungle like this was only a matter of time away.

His comments this morning follow the weekend burglary – only revealed today – of the Automobile Association’s Shirley office in Christchurch.

Taken in the burglary was a collection of computer equipment and backup disks, understood to contain the personal records of up to 20,000 people who’ve applied for new drivers licences since May.

Detectives investigating the crime have told local businesses the AA office had been processing 200 licence applications a day, and details of those applications were stored on the office computer systems.

"When I published The God Factor, I was trying to warn New Zealanders that Governments and bureaucrats do not respect their privacy, nor do they treat the information with sufficient care. Criminals should never have been able to break in and steal such vital information.

"Around half a million New Zealanders will wake up this morning to the sobering realisation that by supplying the Government with their personal details, and even their credit card numbers in many cases, they have left themselves open to attack – either physically or financially – by criminals who can break in to any AA driver processing centre in the country and swipe their information."

Mr Wishart said he had not been able to confirm at this point whether the information was password protected, but suggested that even if it was, it would be a rudimentary password system, probably capable of being broken by a computer-savvy teenager.

"Industrial-strength data encryption is not something that can be done at an AA reception desk, nor could they use top level encryption because of the large number of different organisations and people who are permitted to access the data. As such, it is likely that the criminals will be able to read the personal details of everyone on the stolen computers and disks.

"Organised crime syndicates overseas pay big money for credit card information. They use it to manufacture forged cards that they can use for a month before the genuine cardholder realises they’ve been swindled.

"It is also possible that the burglars at the AA office were after details of a specific individual or group of individuals."

Ian Wishart repeated the warning contained in The God Factor:

"There is nothing wrong with photo licences as such, or even ID cards. The problem lies in the security of personal information and who has access to it. There are few safeguards in the new Drivers Licence scheme, and I expect personal information to soon become available on the black market. People say they have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, but they forget they are putting their trust in bureaucrats."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels