Heads should roll | The Jackal

16 Oct 2012

Heads should roll

You've got to wonder at just how dishonest the mainstream media is being with reporting on the Ministry of Social Development's huge breach of privacy. They're so focused on downplaying the issue that it appears they think WINZ clients don't have any rights to privacy at all.

First they started calling it "hacking" when blogger Keith Ng published the results of exactly what information was publicly available. They also claimed it was "hacking" when it became apparent Ira Bailey, with a few simple keystrokes, had initially accessed the data at a public WINZ kiosk.

Then they focused on the fact that Bailey is one of the Uruwera 17, and had asked if there was any reward system for people who find flaws in government computer systems... And what a flaw it was. Bailey has in fact done the government and the New Zealand public a great service, and in my opinion should be rewarded appropriately.

How much was private firms KPMG and Dimension Data paid to audit, test and fail to find the security flaw in the WINZ system I wonder?

John Key thinks it's bad that Bailey had enquired about a financial reward for doing MSD's job for them. The Prime Minister also believes the main problem with the breach of privacy was because it showed contractors invoices... Not one word about the addresses of abused children being publicly available has been uttered. Key hasn't even apologized FFS!

But if that wasn't bad enough, today the NZ Herald reported:

Ira Bailey - one of 17 people arrested in the Urewera raids in 2007 - was the first to discover the major privacy flaws in Work and Income's self-service kiosks but has denied claims he demanded money in return for the information.

The online version differs from today's print edition btw.

Anybody who believes Bailey was the first to find the easily exploitable flaw in WINZ security is a complete fool! They would have to ignore the fact that WINZ was warned about the problem a year ago, but failed to properly initiate any remedial measures. Perhaps they think their clients shouldn't have any privacy either?

The media has been very careful not to report on the full extent of the breach of privacy. For instance the details of sexual abuse victims being readily available through public kiosks has been completely missing from all mainstream media reports.

Obviously taking their cues from right-wing propagandists Cameron Slater and David Farrar, the NZ Herald hasn't even bothered to report the details of what private information was publicly available at all. Pathetic reporting by Claire Trevett and Kate Shuttleworth.

It's a despicable form of manipulation through omission of information in order to protect brand Key and the minister responsible... It's a huge disservice to New Zealand.

Apparently Social Development Chief Executive, Brendan Boyle, isn't ruling out charging Bailey for accessing the private data on WINZ's public kiosks... What exactly they think he can be charged with isn't divulged though, but I presume they will need to pay a really expensive lawyer or private consultant lots of public money before learning they haven't got a leg to stand on. Fucking morons!

WINZ have at least managed to close down the kiosks, but in my opinion it's a case of too little too late and much of the damage would have already been done.