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Stronger controls needed on handling spreadsheets

“Stronger controls needed on handling spread sheets” says Privacy Commissioner

22 March 2013 – Media Release

The Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said today that public sector agencies needed to have stronger controls in place when handling spread sheets of personal information.

“The EQC breach is yet another incident involving inadvertent disclosure of large amounts of personal information on a spread sheet. We hope that agencies are starting to realise that they should have stronger controls in place to help to prevent these types of mistakes. But they clearly have a way to go yet.”

“I think it has reached the stage where the public need some further reassurance,” Marie Shroff said. “So I am considering writing to the State Services Commissioner and all public sector chief executives, asking them to tell me what precautions they have put or are putting in place to help prevent inadvertent emailing of client information on spread sheets.”

The Privacy Commissioner confirmed that EQC had informed her about the breach this morning. “We welcome the open and honest approach that EQC has taken with the public, and with us. We are also pleased to note that the breach seems to have been quickly contained.

“We will be following up with EQC, to find out more details about what happened and what is being done to make sure that similar breaches cannot occur in the future. There are real people behind the information that government holds, and we all have the right to expect that our information will be strongly protected.”


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