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Australian Gov't Loses Privacy Alert Subscription Information In the Mail

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  • by ExploHD (888637) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:29AM (#40580711)
    Let's start with the debate if this is irony or not. GO!
  • The antipodes is a strange region of the Earth where everything is opposite: up is down, left is right, day is night, and most alarmingly, the water flushes down the toilet in the wrong direction. For this reason, you need to be very careful when trying to understand what an Australian is saying. Don't worry about people from New Zealand, they only talk to sheep.

    So first:

    "As an Australian, I'd like to announce a new definition of the 'Irony.'"

    What this means is that we have a new definition of common sense. However, I am a little confused, because the person says "As an Australian." Australians usually indicate they are Australian by saying "I am not Australian."

    Second:

    "A government contractor put a list of users and details in the mail and it was lost. The list contained users subscribed to the government's privacy breach alert system."

    Now, here in the Northern Hemisphere, this doesn't make any sense. But again, being as this happened in the antipodes, this is just common practical policy.

    So this is a bit of a nonstory here. Which I am saying in the Northern Hemisphere sense, and not in the antipodean sense, where calling something a nonstory would indicate that this is really a notable story.

    • What this means is that we have a new definition of common sense. However, I am a little confused, because the person says "As an Australian." Australians usually indicate they are Australian by saying "I am not Australian."

      So you're saying his "As an Australian" comment was ironic when compared to the traditional response? <Vinne Barbarino>I'm so confused.</Vinne Barbarino>

    • Pedantic note: in Australia we have a different flushing mechanism than in the US, so the water in our toilets circles neither clockwise nor counter-clockwise.

  • by Wild Wizard (309461) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:52AM (#40580751) Journal

    Actually the irony is that the contractor is in fact AusCERT [auscert.org.au] who claim to be :-

    AusCERT operates within a worldwide network of information security experts to provide computer incident prevention, response and mitigation strategies for members and assistance to affected parties in Australia.

  • In the mail? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cmdrm (1683042) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @05:24AM (#40580971)

    Why were they taking information, which they have electronically, and putting it on a physical medium where it loses its usability, presumably so someone could use it. And they used regular mail? Seriously? Is this April fools or something, this is just too much fail to be real.

    • by ubrgeek (679399)
      The worst part is they seem to believe switching contracts is an OK solution in-and-of itself. Does Australia have any sort of laws forcing the government to protect this stuff? If so, is the contractor and/or his/her company going to face prosecution? If not then that becomes an even bigger story.
    • Why were they taking information, which they have electronically, and putting it on a physical medium where it loses its usability, presumably so someone could use it.

      Perhaps, that DVD was for archival, or legal purposes.

      Anyway, the real error here was not having the entire thing encrypted.

  • "Government contractor" lost it on the way to the pub for lunch...she'll be right. Everything will be apples! ;)
  • by jjbarrows (958997) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @08:20AM (#40581405) Homepage

    atleast the packet has legal protection
    in australia, the government owned physical packet switching network known as 'australia post' has huge legal protection over every single packet switchted through the network, unlike digital networks. even retaining the header (sender/reciever) data is illegal, and any deep packet inspection will be met with the full force of the federal police. so from a legal perspective the data is a lot safer in post than in your email inbox

    • That's assuming the DVD was indeed lost in the mail.

      All that we know for sure is that the chain of custody was broken and that the data lost -- was mostly left unencrypted. For all we know, the DVD could have been, lost/stolen/social engineered from the receiving government agency, or lost/stolen/social engineered from the sending government contractor.

      By telling us that the data was lost in the mail, they've fulfilled their strictest minimum legal obligation to publicize that there was indeed a breach. Now

    • by VJmes (2449518)
      Unforunately for this packet switched network there are a lot of dropped packets.
  • This is also why I scoff at the identity protection companies that regularly advertise in the US. They have got a new one "protect your children's ID". It would seem the first step to protecting your "identity" is not to give out information about yourself to companies like these ID protection companies.. Just the phrase "steal someone's identity" is stupid, "misuse my credentials" wouldn't sell ads though.

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