Australia asylum-seekers suffer privacy breach

2014-02-19 11:20
Detained asylum seekers wait to be deported. (File, AFP)

Detained asylum seekers wait to be deported. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney - The Australian government admitted on Wednesday it accidentally published the personal details of thousands of asylum-seekers in detention in a major privacy breach that refugee advocates said could put lives at risk.

The immigration department was alerted to the error on its website by The Guardian, whose Australian edition reported that the vast database contained full names, nationalities, location and boat arrival information.

It said every person held in a mainland detention facility and on Christmas Island was identified, as well as several thousand living in the community under the community detention programme.

The department said the information was never intended to be in the public domain.

"The department acknowledges that the file was vulnerable to unauthorised access," it said in a statement.

"The file has been removed and the department is investigating how this occurred to ensure that it does not happen again."

‘Lives in danger’

The Refugee Council of Australia said the breach raised fears that those identified could be at risk of retribution if they were returned to their countries of origin, while family members still in their home nations could face harassment.

"It is unbelievable that a breach of this kind could happen. The information is highly confidential for a reason," the council's chief executive Paul Power told AFP, adding that he had been told the data could have been available for days.

"There could be implications not just for people in detention but also family members in the country of origin."

He said the ramifications for people who failed in their asylum bid and were returned could be "huge", with some countries punishing those who fled.

"It runs the risk of putting lives in danger," said Power, while calling for a full explanation on how it happened.

The breach is an embarrassing blow to the conservative government, whose hard-line policies to combat people-smuggling and deter asylum-seekers have been shrouded in secrecy.

Labor immigration spokesperson Richard Marles said the government had blundered.

"It can't determine what should be made public and what should be kept private," he told reporters.

Read more on:    australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Kuils River - 18:48 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Tuesday Muizenberg - 10:59 AM
    Road name: Main Road Both Ways
    ROADWORKS with stop/go controls at Atlantic Road - expect peak time delays (until July 2015)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2790.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The ingredients for today are communicating your original ideas in a creative and unique way that can make the right people look...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.