Identity theft reported to police

Saturday 17 April 2010, 11:46AM
By North Shore City Council


The North Shore City Council has reported to the police the theft of personal information from a council computer, Councillor Ken McKay said today.

“During the lunch adjournment yesterday afternoon, I was clearing my emails on a council computer in the councillors’ work room. At the resumption of the council committee meeting, I left the workroom to return to the chamber without logging off from the computer I had been using. Later in the afternoon, when I logged on to my computer from within the chamber, I received an email from a Sunday newspaper journalist thanking me for an email which I most certainly did not send.”

“Subsequent enquiries confirmed that some unknown person had used the workroom computer that I had been working on over lunch, had accessed my files, and had forwarded a string of emails to the Sunday newspaper.”

“Someone had clearly taken advantage of my absence from the councillors’ work room and emailed the journalist in my name. I consider this to be a theft of my identity, not to mention confidential information, and immediately called the editor of the newspaper concerned to report the incident, and explained the situation. The editor undertook to speak with the journalist in receipt of the stolen email.”

“Only a limited number of people have access to the councillors’ work room, which is in a secure area, and the action was clearly malicious as the same email was sent to the journalist twice in 15 minutes,” Councillor McKay said.

“The matter has now been reported to the police by the Council. Obviously, it will be up to the police as to what, if any, action they take,” said Councillor McKay, a long-standing Justice of the Peace who recently retired from sitting on the bench of the Auckland District Courts.

“It is a sorry state of affairs that we have now come to a point where people with whom you share a professional working relationship and whom you should be able to trust to behave ethically and honourably, would stoop so low as to invade my privacy, steal my identity, and forward confidential information on to a journalist.”

“Sadly, one person’s actions have caused an unnecessary distraction at a time when most Councillors and council staff are doing their utmost to remain focused on delivering quality services to the people of the North Shore as we transition to the new Auckland Council structure,” said Councillor McKay.

The North Shore City Council is undertaking a review of security in relation to computer access.