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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Staff sackings for privacy breaches

According to to-day's Sydney Morning Herald, Centrelink, the Federal Government's welfare payments agency has uncovered almost 600 cases of staff wrongfully accessing client records during the last 2 years. Nineteen staff were sacked, 92 resigned, 300 faced salary deductions or fines and 46 were reprimanded. Five cases involving staff making changes to records have been referred to the Police.

Centrelink says this illustrates its zero tolerance of privacy breaches. Others might draw additional conclusions.

I wonder if Centrelink intends to contact those whose data has been improperly accessed, or just leave its clients wondering whether they should be concerned?


  1. Anonymous2:56 pm

    I wonder what other conclusions could be reached?

  2. Other conclusions one might draw include that staff have not been sufficiently aware of privacy obligations, systems to monitor access to sensitive information have been inadequate, and that we are still somewhat in the dark about whether this is the full story or the tip of the iceberg?

    It's not that privacy obligations are "new" for Federal government agencies such as Centrelink - after all the law was enacted in 1988.