Australian Information Security Incident Reported: March 31 2020

Australian Privacy Breach February 2020: Federal court data breach sees names of protection visa applicants made public

The names of hundreds of people seeking protection visas have been published on the website of the Federal Court in a catastrophic data breach that potentially puts asylum seekers at risk of harm.

Source: Federal court data breach sees names of protection visa applicants made public | ABC News (Australia)
More reports from: ABC News (Australia).

In a statement, a Federal Court spokesman described the disclosure as a “major systemic failure” and said the court had identified 400 asylum seekers, so far, whose names had been published.

The spokesman also admitted it was an offence under Commonwealth legislation for the court to publish the names of protection visa seekers.

A day after the ABC raised the issue, the Federal Court disabled the search function on the database. The court then put the database back on online, but took it down again after being told by the ABC that names were still viewable.

Migration lawyer Daniel Taylor, who has acted for a number of people seeking protection visas, said he had clients who had been put at risk by the breach.

“[Authorities in foreign countries] can very well read in English, and they can read those names and they can identify the dates of birth and they can identify the claims,” Mr Taylor.