Commerce Commission secures court orders to protect stolen information

The Commerce Commission has obtained a court order to protect the confidentiality of information contained on computer equipment stolen from one of its external providers.

The commission announced on 17 October that it had been granted an interim injunction by the High Court “against [any] unknown persons who may at any stage possess information on or taken from the equipment.”

The injunction prohibits any person from dealing with the stolen information in any way, including copying, communicating or publishing it.

The commission revealed on 8 October that computer equipment stolen in a burglary from the provider mdash; which it did not name mdash; contained more than 200 meeting and interview transcripts across a range of its work, possibly dating back to early 2016. It said these files might contain confidential information provided to the commission by businesses and individuals.

The commission’s CEO Adrienne Meikle warned at the time that some of the information was subject to a confidentiality order issued by the Commission under section 100 of the Commerce Act.

“This makes it a criminal offence for any person in possession of the devices or information from the devices to disclose or communicate it to anyone while the orders are in force,” she said.

The High Court has also made orders suppressing information relating to the external service provider, the nature of the services provided by the provider to the commission, and information about the burglary not already disclosed by the Police.

It has warned that anyone failing to comply with the orders could be held in contempt of court.

Following its announcement of the theft on 8 October the commission terminated the contractor, saying it had failed to meet its contractual and confidentiality obligations.

The commission also engaged Richard Fowler QC to undertake an independent review of the circumstances leading to the theft and engaged KPMG to review its information handling processes, including third-party supplier engagements.

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