(Another) WINZ privacy blunder
John Cousins and Fritha Tagg report:
Confidential documents detailing the mental health conditions of beneficiaries were given to a woman in a major privacy blunder.
Waihi resident Tracy Hall says the documents, which contain the names, phone numbers and mental health details of dozens of Work and Income clients, were given to her in error.
The list was inadvertently bundled up with the beneficiary forms given to Ms Hall.
“People make mistakes, but this was an awful mistake.”
Work and Income have confirmed the mistake happened in Waihi’s Winz office early this year.
Read more on Bay of Plenty Times.
This is not the first WINZ breach to be reported on this site:
- In December 2011, 5 WINZ employees were sacked for inappropriately accessing client files.
- In July 2012, 10 more WINZ employees were fired for breaches that included misuse of private files belonging to friends and family.
- In October 2012, personal info on children, beneficiaries and contractors of Ministry of Social Development were found to be available on kiosk computers. Two investigations into the breach cost $500,000.
- In May 2013, a WINZ employee emailed the private details of 34 beneficiaries to another claimant by mistake.
And now this breach involving sensitive information.
Frankly, this is one of those situations where naming and shaming would probably not be effective, as WINZ has already gotten so much bad press over the years. What else does the NZ Privacy Commissioner have in his toolbox to protect people’s information?