Firearm buy-back scheme privacy breach confirmed

File image/SunLive.

Police have confirmed a privacy breach involving the online notification platform for the firearm buy-back programme has occurred.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Clemen says a dealer with legitimate access to the online notification platform for the firearm buy-back programme has been able to view details of firearms owners.

“We were notified of the error this morning when the dealer contacted us.

“Upon being notified all efforts were made to immediately shut down access to the platform.

“We have been able to identify the error back to an update made by our vendor last week which provided dealers a higher level of access to the notifications database.”

The update was not authorised by police, he says

“Our investigations have shown only one dealer login has accessed the system since the update.

“We believe this was an isolated incident and made possible due to human error.”

The vendor for the online notification platform is German based global software company SAP.

An SAP spokesperson says it was notified of a security breach to the New Zealand Police gun buy back system this morning.

“The security breach indicated that a single dealer user had accessed information not intended to its user profile.

“As soon as the full details of this incident were understood, all user profiles on the system, except for SAP consultants investigating, were locked, and remain so.”

As part of new features intended for the platform, security profiles were to be updated to allow certain users to be able to create citizens records, the spokesperson says.

“A new security profile was incorrectly provisioned to a group of 66 dealer users due to human error by SAP.

“We unreservedly apologise to New Zealand Police and the citizens of New Zealand for this error.

“The security of our customers and their data is of absolute priority to us.”

A full internal investigation is already underway within SAP and the company will continue to work with New Zealand Police to ensure the system is fully secure and up and running again as soon as possible, the spokesperson says.

The firearms buy-back programme is continuing and police will be using a manual process to manage the return of prohibited firearms, Mike says.

“The online notification platform will remain offline until we can be reassured by our vendor that the platform is secure.

“We take the privacy of the public information we hold seriously and we will undertake our own additional checks to ensure the system is secure before the online notification platform is re-established.”

Police have advised the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and we are working to identify and then notify those whose information has been accessed, he says.

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