Vehicle Testing New Zealand has increased its audits after its database was deliberately and consciously breached by an employee with links to the Head Hunters' ghost unit.
A VTNZ customer service representative had provided the personal information of a police informant to the ghost unit, the gang's heavy hitters, after they attempted to kidnap Jindarat Prutsiriporn in February last year.
The ghost unit had been hired by Cambodian man Seng Lek Liev to snatch the 50-year-old Thai woman on February 15, 2016.
However, they aborted their mission when a member of the public told police about a suspicious-looking group waiting outside her Waterview home.
The gang, through its VTNZ source, then discovered the name and address of the complainant.
VTNZ's general manager of operations Greg O'Connor said the customer service representative regularly accessed customer information via the VTNZ database.
"This was a deliberate and conscious breach of the system by someone who knows how it works," he said.
The VTNZ employee left before the company's disciplinary process had been completed, O'Connor said.
"In the case in question, we acted as soon as we were notified by police about the potential of a breach of our systems and we worked closely with them on their investigation," he said.
"Unauthorised access of client information is a serious breach of our policies and procedures and goes against the training all VTNZ staff must go through. We will not hesitate to act and we have disciplined people who breach our policies."
O'Connor said everyone in the organisation feels "disappointed and let down" by the incident and a review of its policies and processes was conducted.
"Every staff member has always been required to complete an annual declaration confirming they understand and adhere to VTNZ's code of ethics," he said.
He said since the ghost unit incident, VTNZ has also increased its audit and procedural controls.
"We're always looking for ways to improve the way we manage customer information, and are already speaking to the Privacy Commissioner. We welcome the involvement of his office and if needed, we will make improvements to our systems and processes," O'Connor said.
Privacy Commissioner John Edwards today said he will be asking VTNZ for more details, and for an explanation of the security processes and procedures in place.
Edwards said he was very concerned about Justice Matthew Palmer's findings, when the judge sentenced six men in relation to Prutsiriporn's kidnapping and death yesterday in the High Court at Auckland.
"A captain in the Head Hunters was later able to obtain the name and address of the passerby who called, through a source in Vehicle Testing New Zealand, from the licence plate of the car in which he passed by," Justice Palmer said.
No charges were laid against the employee of the largest vehicle inspection company in New Zealand.
Prutsiriporn was later kidnapped during a second attempt on February 29, 2016 when she was lured into a ute under the guise of a drug deal.
She was then tied up, gagged, and held at several Auckland locations by the gang for the next 22 hours.
On March 1 she made a desperate escape from the boot of a car at a set of traffic lights on Huia Rd, Papatoetoe.
But she was thrown from the vehicle as it sped off.
Motorists found her barely breathing and foaming at the mouth with ties around her neck, waist and ankles.
The mother of three, known as Nui, died from her injuries in hospital two days later.
She had been involved in the criminal drug underworld.