Confidential information at risk after computer stolen from Commerce Commission

A computer holding hundreds of meeting and interview transcripts has been stolen from the Commerce Commission.

The computer belonged to an external provider and was taken last week, the Commerce Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

The transcripts cover a range of the commission's work and may date back to early 2016 and contain confidential information provided by businesses and individuals.

"We are in the process of contacting those affected to discuss the details of the information potentially compromised," said Adrienne Meikle, the Commerce Commission's chief executive.

The commission's own network and systems were not breached in the theft.

Miekle said the commission would no longer be working with the external provider in question.

"It was subject to contractual and confidentiality obligations to ensure that information was stored securely and deleted after use. The provider has informed us it did not meet these obligations."

Miekle said the commission "apologised unreservedly" to those affected.

"We acknowledge the distress this incident may cause businesses and individuals who have provided information to us in confidence."

Meikle said the commission was working with police and would not be releasing any further details about the burglary.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said the theft was a reminder about the importance of following sound cyber-security procedures, especially when dealing with sensitive information.

"Anyone dealing with other people’s information, whether for public or private sector purposes, needs to understand they have a duty of care to protect that information," he said.

"The Government is examining how processes, checks and standards around cyber-security in the public sector may be improved, but some of what’s needed is basic vigilance and regular upgrades."


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