Editorial: Not so lost in cyber space

By Online Editor

The buzzword this year when it comes to our government seems to be "security".

A week can't go by without another security-related story hitting the headlines - be it about ACC files, Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Kim Dotcom and the GCSB, or this latest fiasco, the Work and Income security hole.

Blogger Keith Ng revealed this week he had easily accessed thousands of copies of invoices with personal details through Work and Income's self-serve kiosks.

The security flaw had been revealed to him by an IT analyst who said he came across it by mistake.

Even more embarrassingly for the Government, it was revealed yesterday that issues of concern had been identified by an IT company in April 2011 but they hadn't been acted upon.

The Ministry of Social Development has contracted Deloittes to investigate the breach in question, as well as MSD's wider computer security. Its answers can't come soon enough.

Just days ago, the Minister of Social Development announced - as part of a White Paper plan focusing on child abuse - a database of 30,000 vulnerable children and families.

Access to this database will be available to community organisations, teachers, doctors and CYF workers.

Alerts will go out across agencies to help stop child abusers coming into contact with potential victims.

These are all worthy moves but we need to know that the transmission of this huge wealth of data across department and ministry lines - and out to those in the community - is done securely.

New Zealanders can't lose faith in their Government's ability to keep their personal details safe and secure.

Especially when many of those New Zealanders have no choice but to provide those details.

The sooner our confidence is restored, the better.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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