Cops do little on improper access
Queensland police have been accused of failing to have adequate measures to prevent officers wrongfully accessing private personal data.
Reports say Queensland police did not discipline 52 of the 59 officers investigated internally for computer hacking during a 13-month period.
Four police officers were charged with computer hacking offences after accessing the Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange (QPrime) database, which stores personal information.
One officer was charged for looking up his former girlfriends, and accessing information on former Australian netball captain, Laura Geitz, “out of curiosity”.
Another officer was found to have sent the address of a Gold Coast woman to her abusive former partner, telling the man to “just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that”.
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope says it is a systemic problem.
“The public has lost confidence in this process. We’re going back to the bad old days,” he said.
Mr Cope said almost any other modern organisation would have sophisticated tracking systems to monitor who accesses sensitive data, and for what purpose.
“The security system in being able to track people who get in this system is not as good as in other institutions,” Mr Cope said.
“If complaints are being dismissed for lack of evidence ... it means their control over data access is just not up to modern standards.
“It may well be the tip of the iceberg. There may be people whose information has been used and abused and have no idea about it. That would suggest there’s something wrong with their internal data controls.”
The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission oversees internal police investigations, and Mr Cope says the CCC needs to become more involved.
“This needs to be taken more seriously and it’s time for the CCC to get involved and conduct a review of these investigations and perhaps exercise their power to take on some of these and do them themselves,” he said.