MoH privacy breach of Covid cases

The Ministry of Health is under scrutiny again over the leak of personal details of New Zealand’s 18 active Covid cases.

RNZ: Details of active Covid-19 cases leaked in privacy breach

RNZ has seen a document that includes the full names, addresses, age and the names of the hotel and one hospital the 18 have been quarantining in.

The State Services Commission has been called in to make sure a “thorough investigation” is held.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said the fact this personal information had been given out was totally unacceptable, and he has ordered an investigation.

“I have been advised by the Ministry of Health that at this stage it cannot be confirmed beyond doubt whether a deliberate leak was involved or if this was simply human error.

“If it was the former, it is unconscionable and absolutely beggars belief why anyone would feel it was an acceptable action to take, given the trauma it is likely to cause those whose information is involved. It would, quite frankly, be abhorrent, and potentially criminal.

“Either way”, he said, “it cannot happen again.

“The public has every right to expect their private information to be held securely.”

NZ Herald:  Covid 19 coronavirus patients’ details leaked: Investigation launched as agencies scramble.

Confidential patient details of all the active Covid-19 cases in New Zealand have been leaked, including their names and dates of birth.

The massive breach of privacy contains the details of 18 confirmed cases, ranging from a 30-year-old woman in Auckland to a 70-year-old man in Canterbury.

It includes the personal details of the man in his 30s receiving care in Auckland City Hospital.

The leaked spreadsheet, seen by the Weekend Herald, also shows which border facility the Covid-positive people were staying in when they tested positive and where they were moved for quarantine.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner said from the little information it had on the leak, it sounded “like a serious breach involving highly sensitive information”.

“Should individuals make complaints to us or we learn additional information, we may investigate further.”

Data systems and management of data has been a real problem for the MoH, and this adds to embarrassment over the inadequacies.

Curiously from Audrey Young at NZ Herald in Jacinda Ardern plagued with fresh problems in health:

If (Clark) had held out for another two days, she would have been forced to sack him anyway, over the incredible privacy breach of the Covid-19 patient details.

As he is new to the job Hipkins just has to deal with the breach, but it could be time consuming for him in his new role..