Secure email considered at Earthquake Commission

SEEmail would not have prevented two recent security breaches, says EQC chief executive

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is considering using SEEmail (Secure Electronic Environment for Mail), says chief executive Ian Simpson.

SEEmail one of the longest established all-of-government ICT security measures.

There was initially some confusion as to whether EQC, as a Crown entity, was entitled to access SEEmail, which it thought was for the use of core government departments only; it now appears EQC can avail itself of the facility and it is considering use where appropriate.

One of SEEmail’s core capabilities is to ensure emails among a group of agencies cannot be misdirected to someone outside that group and still be readable. However, Simpson says, its use would not have been possible or not have been relevant in the two most recent security breaches.

In one of these, where an email with a spreadsheet was sent to the wrong person, the intended recipient was a private company so would not have been able to use SEEmail at the receiving end, he says. In the other, the mail was sent to the right recipient, but included an attachment in error.

In any case, says Simpson, the organisation intends to move away from using email in favour of more secure ways of sharing information.

Secure email was one of the first cross-agency needs flagged when the e-government unit was founded as part of the State Services Commission in 2000. It is now the responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs.

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