IRD’s last three unencrypted tapes 'safe'

Precautions are in place against interception of the data, says acting deputy commissioner

Inland Revenue (IRD) is discussing options with the Ministry of Social Development and ACC to enhance security on three regular data transfers between IRD and the other agencies, says Alan Pinder, acting deputy commissioner, business development and systems.

These transfers are currently being conducted on unencrypted tape and were flagged by Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff last week as the only three unencrypted transfers still in place in government’s data-matching programmes.

Earlier this year, the commissioner identified 19 out of the 46 government data-matching programmes that were transferring unencrypted data on CD, diskette or tape.

“I have [now] been advised that all files transferred on CD for authorised information-matching programmes are now encrypted,” she said last week.

“One file transfer has been shifted to an on-line, encrypted transfer.”

Pending attention to the last three transfers, Pinder says other precautions are in place against interception of the data.

“The tapes containing unencrypted data are protected by physical security.

“They are placed in a locked case with tamper-evident seals, and delivered by track-and-trace courier.”

The three tapes “require specialist computer equipment to read them”, he says. This makes encryption difficult.

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