Monday, October 15, 2012

Paula Bennett's Big Backdoor Kiosks

Usually when this government faces large font headlines, Paula Bennett is wheeled out with some outrageous new welfare policy to distract the media pack. The scale of embarrassment that John Key is facing over the Kim Dotcom headshot was too large to surmount with this usual tactic. After Keith Ng's moderately large but elegantly moderated MSD data dump last night, Paula Bennett will be lucky to keep her job.

A security hole that makes the ACC debacle look puny in comparison will do that. Hell, it makes the police INCIS computer scandal under the Nineties Nats look like a blip. I expect there's a small IT boom going on in Wellington right now as holes of various sizes are patched. Paula Bennett is having a crash course in jargon such as firewalls, partitions and privacy.

She owns this mess just as John Key owns his Dotcom vom (seriously, how come the only black spots for the security cams in the shiny new Defence Citadel are the rooms John Key walks into?). The new kiosks were introduced under her watch. They were introduced to cut staff levels, in order for National to reach their hell-for-leather 2015 surplus.

An advocacy group even warned the MSD formally and informally, after their photo op launch for the kiosks a year ago. One of my Facebook circle witnessed the event. The MSD were told and nothing was done. It sounds like the CERA re-build might be another multi-billion dollar government budget with its nuts waving in the wind with the same system. Bang goes any trust in inter-governmental data sharing.

There's a lot of outrage out there. The very vulnerable children that Paula Bennett has said she wanted to protect have had their most intimate details available to anyone who can wave a mouse down at the local WINZ office. Not to mention the read, write, execute access that left a possibility of fraudulent use that would make a Nigerian scammer blush.

The one day that there's a government scandal, and for once Paula Bennett is silent. Unless Key has set the bar lower than worm's limbo competition, there's a fair chance that Bennett is not long for the cabinet table.