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Well past time to be “concerned”!

Written By: - Date published: 4:59 pm, October 24th, 2012 - 50 comments
Categories: accountability, paula bennett - Tags: , , ,

I wasn’t going to post on the never ending stream of privacy breaches and kiosk vulnerabilities that have come to light recently. The latest is WINZ using printed personal details as scrap paper – and handing them over to a member of the public. But Bennett’s comment on this latest incident cannot be ignored:

Privacy blunders mount at Winz

… A list of the full names of the beneficiaries, along with the type of benefit they were applying for, was handed to a Masterton woman last week. The sensitive document appears to have been used as scrap paper by office staff, and featured a hand-written note between staff members.

…Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the breach was a human error by a junior staffer, not evidence of systemic failure.

Which, fair enough, it would be, in isolation. But this event did not occur in isolation.

Labour’s social development minister Jacinda Ardern said the minister had to acknowledge there had now been a raft of breaches. “I’ve counted at least 10 that have been publicly reported on this year and that is quickly moving from human error to a systemic failure.”

Bennett says she is not concerned about the robustness of Ministry of Social Development security despite serious questions being raised.

What a stupid statement. Paula – it is time to be concerned. It is well past time to be concerned! It is your job to be concerned. If you aren’t concerned about obvious systemic failure in your Ministry, then what exactly are you good for? Do you think taxpayers are happy to pay your salary just so you can sit in your office, twiddle your thumbs, and tell us that you’re not bovvered?

50 comments on “Well past time to be “concerned”! ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    It’s fairly easy to put systematic safe-guards in for stuff like this.

    Have a special printer in each office that is the only printer that can be used to print out client details or other confidential information. Even better if you can rig up specific software to only be able to print to that printer (like a database program). Stock this printer with light-blue shaded paper.

    Anything that is printed on light-blue shaded paper is therefore confidential information that should be used carefully and shredded once it is no longer useful.

    • PlanetOrphan 1.1

      Shred everything and give then their bloody notepads back M8! 🙂

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Why are they still using paper?

      Oh, right, because their IT department sux.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        Paperless offices were a dream of the 80s that never materialised.

        Although with the advent of tablet PCs were probably closer than ever before to getting there.

    • Logie97 1.3

      Companies have always been excited by the centralising of their printing. One all-singing- all-dancing printer that everyone prints to. Apparently installed in the name of efficiency. However, people at the coal face who use these systems, invariably arrive at the printer during someone else’s run and their pages can be easily shared, or removed from the page stacker in order to retrieve their one page …

      For a few dollars more, each workstation could have its own desktop printer. No confusion then

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        A centralised printer that had 5-10 separate ‘out’ trays for different print jobs would be sufficient.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2

        I’ve used systems like that. No confusion is their use at all.

        One printer at each desk is a huge waste of resources because each one would be used about once per day on average whereas one printer per x number of people will be in use better than 50% of the time.

        • Logie97

          … desk top lasers are two a penny these days.
          … and when the primary printer goes down?

          Besides, where an operator leaves the desk at the back of the room to get to the remote (hugely expensive) printer, leaving their position open to the world as well, who knows what clients are able to access while the operator is away from the desk.

          • Lanthanide

            If you’re only looking at the hardware costs of cheap retail printers, sure, they might be cheap. They also may not last very long in a business environment.

            Also consider the expense of maintenance on 20-30+ printers in an office, the amount of extra toner cartridges required. Then consider all the features that may be missing on your cut-price model but that the office still requires (duplex being easy off the top of the head, A3, A2, scanning, faxing, photocopying etc), so they’ll need to have at least one expensive printer anyway.

            “who knows what clients are able to access while the operator is away from the desk.”

            If clients are wandering around or have access to computers in the staff-only area, that’s an entirely different security problem that is not solved by “more printers”, particularly if the staff member still has to leave their desk to use the uber-printer (photocopying drivers license perhaps?) or talk to another staff member.

            • Logie97

              Lanthanide – “If clients are wandering around … staff-only area” When was the last time you saw the inside of a WINZ office?

              Apparently Christine Rankin tore down the walls and they have been open plan ever since – making case managers deal with individual clients at their desks, so probably they do have access to most of the office floor space.

              As for the printing from those machines – 99 per cent of correspondence printed in offices is A4 letters. Not the fancy stuff you highlight… and that is the point. They do not need an all-singing-all-dancing printer for most of their correspondence.

              • Vicky32

                Apparently Christine Rankin tore down the walls and they have been open plan ever since – making case managers deal with individual clients at their desks, so probably they do have access to most of the office floor space.

                That’s true. I was there today, being interviewed at the ‘case manager’s’ desk in the midst of everyone… and when I came back with extra documents she’d requested, I just bluesed up to her desk. Hadn’t I wanted to snoop, I would have had ample opportunity.
                When I worked for them in the 1980s, we still had carpeted partitions between our desks, but more importantly, there was a separate area for seeing beneficiaries.

        • Vicky32

          I’ve used systems like that. No confusion is their use at all.

          Me also! At the schools where I worked last year, and just a few weeks ago, there was only one printer, and everyone used it at the same time of day, but we had no problem sorting out our own stuff, and waiting 90 seconds for the other person to finish!

          • Logie97

            … and do children print to those printers during the day, and do their teachers ask them to pick up papers from the printer from time to time?

            • Vicky32

              and do children print to those printers during the day, and do their teachers ask them to pick up papers from the printer from time to time?

              No, these were language schools with adult students. The first one had a shared printer in the staffroom, and the second (a bit of a scruffy ill-equipped outfit) had a printer that some students could use, but they would stand there, and defer to staff, waiting for us to get our stuff first.

  2. One Tāne Huna 2

    Let’s face it, you could replace the National Party front bench with a pile of pocket lint and it would do a better job.

  3. The Invisible Meerkat 3

    Bennett should only be concerned if she thinks her job is to help govern NZ. But it’s not. She’s part of a team that has the task of preparing NZ government departments for privatisation.
    It’s also her job to help keep the plebs in their place. The message is still coming through loud and clear: beneficiaries and other people in strife who can’t sort out their own problems are third class citizens. No need to be concerned at all.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Bennett should only be concerned if she thinks her job is to help govern NZ. But it’s not. She’s part of a team that has the task of preparing NZ government departments for privatisation.


      National’s only concern is to turn the general public back into serfs that serve the rich.

  4. karol 4

    Eh?  This in Question Time today:

    Jacinda Ardern: Does the case I received this afternoon of a Work and Income client who was given a list of jobs to take home, only to find that the papers included a document with the personal details of another Work and Income client, constitute human error or a systemic failure?

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: What I would say is that this actually proves that the Ministry of Social Development takes security seriously. It has made mistakes, and it is the first one to stand up and be counted for that. But there are also things like human error. I find it ironic that the member wants to hang a case manager or a worker out to dry, when that is actually not the case; it is simply a human error.

    It’s Bennett that’s putting it down to human error, thus hanging the individuals out to dry.

    • fatty 4.1

      if only Paula was a human…then we could blame the errors on her

    • Dv 4.2

      A simple system as suggested by Lath some where else today would prevented it.
      One printer for sensitive lists printed on a coloured paper.

      The point is that there will be errors BUT there needs to be SYSTEMS in place to reduced posible errors.
      Systems ARE the responsiblity of management.

    • Lanthanide 4.3

      Paula was the only one to imply that anyone was going to hang anyone out to dry, as well. Very defensive; weird.

    • Chris 4.4

      What does that answer to Jacinda even mean!!!! Was it one she got off lockwood smith perhaps. So that would make it a perfectly acceptable answer then
      “The House is Alive to the Sound of Bull-hit”
      Think Julie Andrews!
      pb is barking.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Do you think taxpayers are happy to pay your salary just so you can sit in your office, twiddle your thumbs, and tell us that you’re not bovvered?

    Actually, she doesn’t give damn about what the taxpayers think as was shown by her being found in the wrong about releasing private details and then saying that she would do it again.

  6. Phil 6

    Poor la Bennit (or should that be le Bennit)
    Maybe get a ministry that has some worth, or at least some (lean thinking, or maybe just lean) ethos.
    How much is tax evasion costing?
    Was that thin, weedy reply;
    “Somewhere in the region of $1 to $6 Billion”.
    Somewhere in the region? That’s like discussing Canada as:
    “Somewhere in the region of Africa”.
    And those dastardly benefit cheats are “stealing” what to destroy your Westie paradise?
    “$39 million”
    Disgusting, have you no shame, no conscience, no memory?

  7. It’s fairly easy to put systematic safe-guards in for stuff like this.

    It’s not just easy, it’s everyday, well-duh kind of stuff for an organisation handling personal information about its customers. But we’re talking here, based on what the kiosks fiasco revealed about its network, about an organisation that considers pretty much any information it holds should be available to anyone with a valid login on any device with a valid account. If that doesn’t guarantee privacy breaches on a daily basis, I don’t know what would.

    • NickS 7.1

      Yeah, it’s a long term pattern of stupid decisions vis IT security we’re seeing unfold here, that’s seemingly systematic across government departments. Upgrading snafu’s might be to blame, but frankly it’s probably down to “lowest cost” mentality that discounted or ignored long term issues.

  8. xtasy 8

    Jacinda Ardern should feel bloody ASHAMED for her own lack of focus and sincerity. I and others have fed her endless info to deal to Bennett and this government. Either she is not in control if her matters and emails, or she is incompetent. She should have hammered Bennett on numerous cases, but she is NOT!. She feeds driplings of stuff, and there is so much where Bennett could be exposed, but it is NOT happening. Ardern and even Logie of the Greens, are letting this bitch off the hook big style, maybe it is feminist wrong sympathy? Then there is Asenati Lole Taylor (or so it goes) from NZ First. Has anybody ever heard of that woman in charge for welfare for NZ First? NO! Winston has his agenda with a bill, with Key and other things, but NZ First and “welfare” do NOT exist, for some reason, even though Barbara Stewart has just been “fed” highly sensitive info recently. They DO NOT WANT anything serious to do with welfare. The Greens are similarly “Bland”, although Logie seems more sincere. So when you have a Social Services Committee to soon hear submissions on welfare reforms, which is highly staffed with right wing NAT jerks, what do you expect to come out of submission hearing and so? It will be a WASTE of time, like with the MOB bill.

    NZ is busy “wanking”, I observe, as resolute action is not evident, not detectable, and as all usual lobby and focus groups just come out with the some crap.

    I have NO hope for welfare and a fair treatment of beneficiaries in this CRAP country, as it is a LOST country, full of lifestylers, Kiwi dodgers and no-hopers. Kiwis “m,ove on”, I learned, and they do. They “move on” to Australia, rather than stand their ground. GUTLESS is the word, and I dare say it again, this is a GUTLESS people, not deserving to live on the land they dwell and shit on!

    • AsleepWhileWalking 8.1

      Like everything Labour does her efforts are just short of enough.

      She should have DEMANDED Paula Bennett’s resignation after the kiosk disaster and not let the issue drop so freakin easily. One could easily mistake Ardern to be sympathetic to Bennett.

      Logie is working hard on sexual abuse issues (massive cuts to funding in this area) which is at least something important. Yes, I agree with you that the opposition spokeswomen on welfare are so slack vocally they appear to be in agreement, and in the case of NZFirst pretty much non existent.

    • One Tāne Huna 8.2

      If your “info” is anything like your comments here, I doubt she would touch it with a ten foot pole.

      • The Invisible Meerkat 8.2.2

        I tend to agree, although the ranting nature of xstacy’s posts is a relatively recent thing.

        • McFlock

          yeah, I don’t seem to recall their comments to be quite so “stream of consciousness” or as extensively punctuated and capitalised in the past. 

          • xtasy

            McFlakey: If I may be allowed to comment: I take a rather resolute and uncompromising stand as of recent, because the “left” as perceived as such in NZ has become a bit of a “solid joke” to me and others. I also source heaps of info from abroad day and night, and such short sighted comments, some of which I come across daily here, are a disappointment. I would expect a higher level of commentary, criticism and policy development. You have another chance though, if you count yourself as belonging to the valid alternative political arena!

      • xtasy 8.2.3

        One Tane Huna, Te Ruanga or whatever –


        These are just some bloody stories that I am involved in mate!

        Get your bloody brain sorted and re-think, before you rubbish me. I have more on the agenda than idiot stuff, and this forum has through a mate of mine got a treasure trove of info now, to do with WINZ, just am waiting to see whether anyone here has the bloody guts to present it!!!

    • fuck off then

      You are talking shit mate – crap and lost country? No – it is simply a colonised country, built on crooked and unstable foundations and wedded to the capitalist, exploitive, comodification obsessed, patriarchial western model. Easy to blame the people, easy to call them gutless when many are struggling to get through to next week and most are frightened shitless about what is happening now and into the future. Don’t go the sheeple way mate, people are not sheep and they are not gutless, anywhere! You need to go deeper in your analysis and see the real issues and real problems. Many people from all ethnicities are fighting for those disadvantaged by our system and we don’t call those we help gutless – they are the most courageous people I’ve ever met.

      • marty mars 8.3.1

        Sorry xtasy my first sentence is rude, abusive, more about my stuff than anything to do with you, and as a final nail in its coffin – not even what I really meant. Sorry about that.

        • xtasy

          “marty mars”, why do you bloody apologise for speaking your mind? Is this not symptomatic of the NZ mental illness of “self defeatist” surrender and hopelessness? You should bloody well speak your mind, and I take you on for that. I just fear you did not quite understand the substance of my criticism, “rant” and arguments. I have a REAL issue with Kiwis not having guts, not standing up for their rights and so on, I get this every bloody day. How do you as a country, people and society want to survive in an increasingly aggressive, mean spirited, capitalist dominated world, and always stand back, be kind be considerate for whatever reason and give in? You are sadly a prime example of the problem I am trying to raise. Get some back-bone, spine, learn, wake up, read, hear, realise and take a damned clear, more informed stand, thank you!

      • xtasy 8.3.2

        marty mars: Go to MARS then, where you may belong in mental sphere. I am NOT going there, and I forgive you for your rushed comment, as it is rather childish. But what would the world be without children, right? We need them as much as you, to add diversity, spice and new potential to the human societies, as they may still be possible to be guided into “maturity” down the line.

  9. One Tāne Huna 9

    Human errors eh.

    A Whanganui man was sent home from his local Work and Income office with the private details of a recently released prisoner mistakenly attached to a list of job vacancies.

    Nothing to do with systemic failure. Have a Tui.

  10. coolas 10

    When Bennet disclosed personal information about Bronwyn Puller and others she demonstrated a contempt/laxness towards the privacy of WINZ clients. Now it’s clear that mindset has filtered through the whole Department. Her attitude is endemic in WINZ and the disease should be treated at source. Bennet has to go if WINZ is to heal, and the opposition should be howling for her resignation.

    • Jim Nald 10.1

      The system is rotting from top down.
      Police Minister and the Police, PM and GCSB, Speaker and the House, ……………..

    • xtasy 10.2

      Yes, Bronwyn looks like a “puller”, right? Her real name though is Pullar! The biggest cynical situation is, we have NatACT idiots rubbish their own government, only to get their claim met. So the media is all about “privacy breaches”, but the real issue of disentitlement of the complex claimants and so gets ignored. NZ media are serfs to the commercial interests of insurance companies AND government run ACC. It is all about disentitlement, bullshit, lies, rot, corruption and the likes, nothing about care and help. That is NZ 2012, and it was not just Nick Smith, it was started to some degree under equally corrupt and dishonest Labour. F them all, I’d say!

  11. Tim 11

    …Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the breach was a human error by a junior staffer, not evidence of systemic failure.
    but yea but nah. Shhhhdin ekshly say thet aye! She talked abeard “stemuck” faleya.
    So she’s off the hook yet again (aye) !
    Plus she’s gunna learn these benfishries yet aye, if t kills a.

    No doubt, and eventually it will – hopefully to the extent she and her ilk become completely and utterly irrelevant

  12. Tim 12

    Ekshly, ffs! jiss kik her up the kint and be done with it. Now worse than drowning one or two kittens aye (the practice of ……..”who? Paula?”)

  13. Chris 13

    It’s time for Bennett to go!!!!

  14. karol 14

    When will the media hold to account some of the doublespeak that NAct politicians use in the House?  The Nats MO when under attack, is to attack the opposition back – thus diverting from their own failings.
    So, yesterday, when being questioned on the latest privacy breach by Jacinda Ardern, Bennett threw back an accusation that made no sense – she accused Ardern of something that Bennett herself is actually doing.

    4. JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) to the Minister for Social Development: Does she have confidence in Work and Income’s approach to privacy and the security of information?
    Jacinda Ardern: Does the case I received this afternoon of a Work and Income client who was given a list of jobs to take home, only to find that the papers included a document with the personal details of another Work and Income client, constitute human error or a systemic failure?

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: What I would say is that this actually proves that the Ministry of Social Development takes security seriously. It has made mistakes, and it is the first one to stand up and be counted for that. But there are also things like human error. I find it ironic that the member wants to hang a case manager or a worker out to dry, when that is actually not the case; it is simply a human error.

  15. Dv 15

    : What I would say is that this actually proves that the Ministry of Social Development takes security seriously. It has made mistakes, and it is the first one to stand up and be counted for that.

    FIrst one to stand up Seriouly!!!!

    Only after they were told at least 3 times, and only after Ng published the info.
    Oh yes Paula very reactive!!!!


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