Blunder reveals Australian lawmakers' private cell numbers

March 20, 2017

Private cellphone numbers of most Australian federal lawmakers, their staff and several former prime ministers have been made public after a government department failed to properly remove them from a routine report.

The Department of Parliamentary Services on Monday confirmed the blunder in its latest on lawmakers' cellphone and internet spending published on its website.

"Typically, the information displayed in those reports only displays the identity of the parliamentarian and aggregated total expenditure," a department statement said. "In the most recent report provided by the contractor, it became possible to view the official mobile phone of parliamentarians and their staff, even though they appeared redacted from the published files."

Fairfax Media reported that the phone numbers had been colored white instead of being removed from the PDF documents, meaning they could be accessed using copy and paste.

The latest report, covering January to June 2016, was available on the Australian Parliament House website for three months before Fairfax alerted the department to the breach of privacy and the report was taken down, Fairfax said.

"The DPS removed the documents from the APH website shortly after it was alerted to the issue and is working with the contractor to investigate the cause," the department statement said.

Among those who avoided having personal numbers published were current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the treasurer, the attorney general and a few other senior ministers.

But at least three former prime ministers' numbers were exposed.

The department said it would work with lawmakers to address privacy concerns and change phone numbers if required.

Explore further: Australia says IBM settles over online census failure

Related Stories

Australia says IBM settles over online census failure

November 25, 2016

Global technology giant IBM carried most of the blame for the crash of Australia's online census three months ago and had compensated the government for the financial cost of the debacle, the prime minister said on Friday.

Australia misses targets to improve Aboriginal lives

February 14, 2017

Australia is failing to improve Aboriginal lives, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday, as a new report showed the government missing key targets, including cutting child mortality and raising life expectancy.

Foreign spies hacked Australian agency, report says

October 12, 2016

Foreign spies installed malicious software on an Australian government agency's computer system, stealing an unknown number of documents, an official report revealed Wednesday, stopping short of naming the country involved.

USDA removes animal welfare reports from its website

February 3, 2017

The Agriculture Department has removed animal welfare inspection reports, enforcement records and other information about the treatment of animals from its website, citing privacy and other laws.

Stanford Hospital privacy breach puts data online

September 9, 2011

(AP) -- Stanford Hospital in California is blaming a subcontractor used by an outside vendor for a privacy breach that led to the posting online of medical information for thousands of emergency room patients.

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.