Secret ship suffers embarrassing leak
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesFederal politics: full coverageRefugees may benefit from privacy breach
The irony is almost too rich.
The federal minister best known for withholding general information that most would regard as harmless has inadvertently released genuinely sensitive personal information – data that should never see the light of day.
A massive data leak from Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison’s department has reportedly revealed the names and addresses of up to 10,000 asylum seekers held in Australia’s detention system.
The leak has potentially prejudiced the physical safety of untold refugee applicants and their families in the countries of origin, while also incidentally revealing some ”operational” details of the ultra-secretive Operation Sovereign Borders.
The data may have increased the risk of retribution against anyone sent back, and thus may result in more successful claims of persecution and therefore asylum.
Morrison, aided by his OSB Commander, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, never comments on ”on water” or operational matters. The danger, they warn, is that ”people smugglers” are listening, piecing together the tiny, seemingly innocent fragments of information to build a better understanding of how Australia deploys its naval assets.
Now, however, the government has released not just the names and countries of origin of asylum seekers, but the names of the vessels they arrived in and even, it seems, the dates of their interception.
Voters had been told that even something as innocuous as the confirmation of arrival of a boat was gold to a people-smuggler because it was proof of successful service.
So was it Morrison’s fault? To be precise, the information was not personally released by him, but rather was posted on his department’s website. He knew nothing about it. But it was there for up to a week – if you knew where to look.
Morrison is furious and has commissioned KPMG to get to the bottom of it. But, of course, he is the one ultimately responsible.
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