5 May 2010

Warning government agencies risk security breaches

4:01 pm on 5 May 2010

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff says some government agencies are at serious risk of security breaches.

A survey of 42 agencies by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner found some still have less-than-desirable controls around portable storage devices such as USB memory sticks.

It found that about 120 of these devices owned by organisations have been lost or stolen in the past year.

Ms Shroff says small, lightweight portable storage devices can store vast amounts of information and are easily lost or stolen. That means agencies risk accidentally disclosing sensitive, personal details if they do not take precautions.

A small number of them have made little or no improvement since the last survey, with the Department of Labour and the Ministry of Health still below par, she says.