Commerce Commission obtains court order to protect 'sensitive' information from stolen computer

The Commerce Commission has obtained a Court order to help protect the confidentiality of sensitive information stored on a computer stolen from one of its external providers.

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Commission chair Anna Rawlings spoke out after computer equipment containing meeting and interview transcripts was taken in a burglary. Source: 1 NEWS

Police are investigating the theft after the Commission was informed last week that more than 200 meeting and interview transcripts across a range of the commission’s work were contained on computer equipment stolen in the burglary at a residential address.

The Commerce Commission has now been granted an interim injunction by the High Court.

In a statement released today, the commission said the injunction is made against “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 external service provider’s details were also protected, after the High Court made orders suppressing information about the nature of the services provided to the commission, and that information about the burglary not be disclosed by the police.

The orders mean that anyone who fails to comply will be held in contempt of court.

In addition, the Commerce Commission says under the Commerce Act it is a criminal offence for any person in possession of information from the stolen equipment to disclose or communicate it to anyone while the court order is in force.

The commission has engaged Richard Fowler QC to undertake an independent review of the circumstances that led to this specific incident. The commission has also engaged KPMG to review its information handling processes, including third-party supplier engagements.

Authorities are urging anyone who has information about the burglary or the computer equipment taken to contact police.