Westpac tight-lipped over privacy breach

Jimmy Ellingham reports:

Westpac is refusing to say if it has told customers affected by a privacy breach that details of their term deposits have been either handed over or taken from one of its Palmerston North branches.

Regardless of how the breach happened, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner says it is often a good idea for organisations to notify affected parties.

On March 1 Tane Rogers left the bank’s Broadway Ave branch with three pieces of paper listing 25 customers’ term deposit account numbers, start dates, maturity dates, interest rates and balances.

Mr Rogers says he was given the papers as part of a sheaf of information handed over by a bank employee.

But the bank has called in police and is understood to have accused Mr Rogers of taking the papers – an accusation he denies.

The Manawatu Standard has asked Westpac if it notified the 25 people whose details were on the papers.

Spokesman Chris Mirams said: “Thanks for your inquiry, we’ve got nothing to add.”

Read more on Manawatu Standard.

Anyone care to ask me again why we need mandatory breach notification laws everywhere?

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  1. IA ENG - April 3, 2013

    The bank employee sounds like they have a lot of integrity – don’t they? HA !

    I bet you this is what happened. The employee printed something for the customer. walks over to the printer and grabs ALL the papers of the printer and hands them over to the customer. Maybe another bank employee asks if they took his papers off the printer. The employee that handed over the papers goes DOH !!! and then crap hits the fan.

    Printers too can have confidential material on them. It is NOT good practice to use one printer for both bank confidential information and to print customer paperwork. It costs a mere 1,000 to have these separated, just like the jobs are.

    A simple practice of looking over the papers before handing them over would have prevented this. If this wasn’t the sceanrio, then confidential paperwork laying about in the open is NOT good practice either. A clean desk where customers and cleaning crews roam is paramount for any business.

    I assume…which may be a BAD thing for this scenario is that they have cameras in places where potential customers can wander. Cameras may be able to show whether an employee went DOH!!! and handed the customer the papers, or the customer simply grabs 3 pieces of paper off a desk.

    I can see this getting out of hand. If the customer is right and has been unlawfully accused, I wonder if he will lawyer up and take some of the banks’ profits.

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