A Te Whatu Ora worker accused of dishonestly taking Covid-19 vaccination data and then spreading it on the internet has been interviewed by prominent American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
He returned to the dock that afternoon so a bail application could be heard. His application for an immediate release on bail was denied. But Judge Andrew Nicholls did grant bail, as long as Young was released at 1pm the following day.
Young was interviewed on a New Zealand conspiracy theory website last week, in which he claimed he developed a database for the vaccine rollout and quoted from it.
Despite this previous interview, with fellow conspiracy theorist Liz Gunn, Alex Jones’ website InfoWars headlines this most recent appearance as: “Whistleblower gives first interview, drops huge truth bombs!”
Jones faced legal trouble late last year after spreading conspiracy theories about a school shooting in the US, which saw some of his viewers who believed his lies threaten and harass bereft parents.
In December 2022, Jones filed for personal bankruptcy protection as he faced nearly US$1.5 billion in court judgments over conspiracy theories he spread about the Sandy Hook school massacre.
After a police complaint from Te Whatu Ora, Young was arrested yesterday and charged with dishonestly accessing a computer.
As Young was taken back to the cells after his first appearance, he shouted “freedom” to the public gallery.
Te Whatu Ora was granted an urgent injunction on Friday to prevent the spread of the data, chief executive Margie Apa said.
“The data, as published on an overseas site, appears to have been anonymised. Analysis of the released data is ongoing, but work so far has not found any National Health Index Numbers or personally identifiable information.”
Apa said an injunction had been used to have information taken down from an overseas website and cyber security specialists are continuing to scan extensively for any other places where the information may appear.
“We sought and were granted an injunction through the Employment Relations Authority that prevents any publication of the data to ensure that we can take all steps to protect the privacy of individuals.
“The individual has worked in the health system for a number of years. He was authorised to access data as part of his work and was locked out of our systems as soon as we became aware of the unauthorised use,” Apa said.
‘Clowns using my loved ones’ deaths as so-called proof’
A woman who lost both parents during the pandemic is furious people’s health data is being used to spread misinformation about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccination.
Louise Richardson, whose parents were vaccinated against Covid-19 but died soon afterwards, is upset at the thought her mother and father could have been part of the data breach.
Richardson said her parents did not die from the vaccine, but “because they were old and already unwell”.
“I understand that this man ... [had] names taken from Health NZ’s Invercargill records which would or could include mum and dad’s, and I suspect he will have matched them against death notices and come to his own - completely wrong - conclusions,” she said.
“The idea that these clowns [could be] using my loved ones’ deaths as so-called proof that the jab kills, when it simply doesn’t, is truly distressing to me.”
Richardson said she was following this matter “pretty closely” and was “absolutely furious” that her late parents’ confidential information was “likely out there in the cookersphere”.
Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.