Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Burglars Commit 20,000+ Privacy Heist - Wishart

Howling At The Moon Publications

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

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news