AU: Federal privacy authorities called in over Centrelink breach

Noel Towell reports:

Federal privacy authorities have been called in after Centrelink left revealing personal and financial details of clients lying around at a suburban railway station last month.

Documents containing details of 23 clients’ full financial disclosures, including bank account numbers and details of property holdings, superannuation and investments, were left by an official from the welfare agency at Darra in the southern suburbs of Brisbane in mid-July.

Centrelink insiders say that sensitive and private information is now routinely carried around on trains, buses and officials’ cars, and often stored at public servants’ homes, after a system of transporting the material in government vehicles was abandoned to cut costs.

The lost documents also contained the dates of birth, phone numbers, relationship details, home addresses and phone numbers, and the loss was only discovered when a Queensland Rail worker called one of the people whose file was lost.

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