11 Apr 2013

Payroll breach inevitable, says principal

7:04 am on 11 April 2013

An Auckland school principal says a privacy breach by software company Talent2, which provides the Novopay payroll system, comes as no surprise.

The company accidentally emailed 3400 transaction details to school pay administrators on Tuesday detailing the names and Ministry of Education numbers for staff at another school instead of their own.

The acting Education Secretary, Peter Hughes, says a Talent2 staff member made the mistake and about 1600 schools are involved.

Avondale College principal Brent Lewis says it is fortunate the email was sent to senior school administrators only, who should dispose of the information.

Mr Lewis says Talent2 is leaving a trail of chaos behind it and this mistake was inevitable.

'No software solution'

An Auckland University software security expert says there is little the Government can do to prevent future privacy breaches.

Peter Gutmann says such privacy breaches are incredibly common in the United States where millions of emails are accidentally sent to the wrong recipient every year.

He says there is no technology or software available that can prevent similar mistakes happening in the future.

Mr Gutmann says the problem with using an electronic warning before sending each message is that people who send hundreds of emails each day will just disable the warning or click 'ok' automatically.