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Tougher laws urged after 1 in 5 kiwis lose data in Latitude attack

Tougher laws urged after 1 in 5 kiwis lose data in Latitude attack

The New Zealand government estimates that 20 percent of its citizens were victimized in an attack on the Australian consumer lender Latitude Financial earlier this year, according to reports.

Driver’s licenses for 7.9 million New Zealanders and Australians were stolen along with 53,000 passport numbers and personal demographic data. A criminal group reportedly is ransoming the information and lawyers are suiting up to take Latitude to court.

The Privacy Commissioner’s Office has described the breach as the “largest privacy failure in New Zealand history” when counting individuals affected, according to reporting by New Zealand-based news publication Stuff.

Emotions initially run high anywhere there is a big attack and that seems to be the case with the Latitude breach. In another Stuff article, there is talk of giving teeth to New Zealand’s privacy laws – there allegedly are no fines for businesses that pay too little attention to data security.

That momentum is hard to maintain, however, and political pressure on industries to stop being soft targets fades. That could happen in this case, too.

In Australia, Queensland politicians reacted to large attacks on Optus and Medicare last fall reacted in a number of ways, including temporarily halting tests of the state’s digital driver’s license.

The mobile driver’s license is supposed to be a part of the Queensland digital ID.

Testing is back on, according to news publication The Mandarin. Bearers of the mDLs will be able to redact some information in proscribed situations. An example would be blocking home addresses when verifying one’s ID or age.

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