Roughan plays catch up

John Roughan has written about the Pullar/Boag manufactured ACC privacy scandal and comes to the same conclusion I did months ago…in fact I think he must have read my post and just cut/pasted it.

By the time they presented the Privacy Commissioner with their report, the country was sick of the subject and hardly anybody read it.

It ran to 102 pages. You had to read to page 99 to discover exactly what sort of confidential client information had escaped.

But finally, in the fifth appendix, there it was: a sample of the fabled spreadsheet of “personal” data. It consisted of four tables listing claimants’ names (removed for the report), their claim numbers, review numbers, branch, lodgement dates, issue codes, decision dates and the like.

That was it. That is all there was.

There was nothing that could be of the slightest use or interest to anyone outside ACC. No personal details alongside the names, no injury information, nothing.

That is what all the fuss had been about.

The media and Pullar/Boag have a lot to answer for.

The thing that disappointed me was that so many people had known all along that the “massive privacy breach” amounted to nothing more than this. Investigative reporters, the Privacy Commissioner, her Independent Review Team, all would have discovered the contents of the spreadsheet very quickly.

None blew the whistle. No reports that I saw looked critically at the facts at the heart of a story that kept on growing and giving. The Privacy Commissioner did not say something to restore a sense of proportion. The review team, no doubt well paid, went about its investigation as though there was a serious problem.

An accident had happened. An ACC rehabilitation officer had a monthly sheet of case reviews on his screen when he decided to respond to an email. He dragged the data aside, clicked a wrong button and unwittingly attached it to the return email.

Computers are a minefield for privacy. Accidents will happen, despite all the procedures the commissioner’s expert team has laid down. It happened to Social Welfare kiosks a short time later.

If the data is as indecipherable as that ACC released, it won’t matter in the slightest. It was the trivial story of the year.

That is was…but it cost Nick Smith his job because of a silly cow who flips it up for pollies in order to get what she wants…who was aided and abetted by a bully. The problem was for them is they picked on the wrong minister…and she set up crushing the leaky board on the way through. Having compromised himself he is now having to get his mates to do backflips in order to rehabilitate himself.

Someone should ask Pullar how much she has received…for all her standover I’ll bet good money that she got nothing and still has got nothing.


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