Unacceptable breach of privacy
I am advised that an immigration detention statistics report released on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website on 11 February 2014 inadvertently provided access to the underlying data source used to collate the report content which included private information on detainees.
This is an unacceptable incident. I have asked the department Secretary to keep me informed of the actions that have been initiated, including any disciplinary measures that may be taken, as appropriate.
Immediate steps were taken to remove the documents from the department's website immediately after the department became aware of the breach from the media.
The information was never intended to be in the public domain, nor was it in an easily accessible format within the public domain.
The department Secretary has engaged KPMG to review how this occurred and an interim report is expected to be provided next week.
As part of that investigation the department has tasked KPMG to review all data publications and to ensure that proper mechanisms will be in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I am advised the department has ensured all possible channels to access this information are closed, including Google and other search engines. It appears the personal information underlying the report cannot be accessed through search engines.
This is a serious breach of privacy by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
I have received a brief on this matter and have sought assurances that this will not occur again.
I also welcome the privacy commissioner's investigation into this breach.
My department will also be requesting that the media organisation that published this data advise if they have disseminated the information to any other parties and to return all copies of the information to the department.
Last update: Wednesday, 19 February 2014 at 17:06 AEST