April 9, 2017 |
That leaks are synonymous with politics is trite. That a fair proportion eminate from Parliament is hardly controversial. But those sort of leaks are politically motivated and the source is invariably anonymous. Otherwise they tend to be self defeating. The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade references committee has leaked sensitive transcripts of witnesses giving evidence in camera regarding an investigation on how the Defence personal deal the possibility of being taken prisons.
Instead of witnesses being sent transcripts of their evidence they were sent transcripts of all witnesses evidence. That included personal information. A privacy breach caused by all too familiar sloppy data handling practices. It is reported in the Australian in Privacy breach for troop training inquiry which provides:
A Senate committee which investigated secret Defence training that teaches soldiers how to deal with being taken prisoners of war accidentally disclosed the confidential evidence of witnesses to each other.
On March 7, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade references committee took evidence from witnesses in-camera, which means it wasn’t a public hearing, as part of an inquiry into training procedures for resistance to interrogation and conduct after capture.
Witnesses were posted copies of their transcripts to check over by registered mail, but the committee accidentally sent witnesses all transcripts rather than just individual ones.
AAP has obtained an email from the committee secretary David Sullivan advising a witness of a privacy breach.
“Due to a handling error our end, the transcript of evidence from other witnesses was inadvertently enclosed,” the email said.
The witness was asked to return the entire transcript and was told their own would then be processed separately.
“I apologise for any inconvenience this error may cause,” the email said.
Labor senator Alex Gallacher, who chairs the committee, said the disclosure of in-camera evidence was a concern.
“I’m advised that an administrative error occurred,” he told AAP, adding that it was corrected as soon as practicable.
“Whilst we are monitoring the situation, we are not aware of any untoward outcomes.”