The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Privacy concerns over Australian welfare internal data breach 

Australian authorities are investigating the inappropriate perusal and alteration of welfare records by employees at "Centrelink". Disciplinary action has been taken against around six hundred employees and some cases have been referred to the police:

Privacy concerns over Centrelink breaches The Daily Telegraph

August 24, 2006 12:00

PRIVACY advocates have serious concerns about the Federal Government's proposed Smartcard after Centrelink staff were caught inappropriately accessing client records.

Six hundred Centrelink staff were caught using sophisticated spyware programs to browse the welfare records of friends, family, neighbours and ex-lovers without authorisation.

A total of 19 Centrelink employees were sacked and 92 resigned after 790 cases of inappropriate access were uncovered.

The head of a privacy taskforce looking into the government's proposed health and welfare Smartcard says he's deeply concerned about the implications for Australians.

The Smartcard will link medical, tax, welfare and other personal details on at least 17 million Australians.

“The Centrelink revelations are deeply disturbing,” Professor Allan Fels told ABC radio yesterday.

“I take some comfort from the fact that the government has caught them and punished them, but there is still a huge weight now on the government to provide full, proper legal and technical protection of privacy with the access card.”

Centrelink said five cases were been referred to Australian Federal Police, more than 300 staff faced salary deductions or fines, another 46 were reprimanded, and the remainder demoted or warned.

Labor says the breaches demonstrate the government's administrative incompetence and wants the privacy commissioner to investigate.


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