Mosman Councillor Under Investigation For ‘Illegal’ Database Use

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A Mosman Councillor has found himself embroiled in a controversy over the alleged misuse of a local rowing club database, which members claim was used “illegally” to solicit support for a failed run to become Mayor in the recent local Council elections.

Mike Sprange, a former IT partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers, claims that the “illegal” use of the Mosman Rowers Club database by organisers acting for mayoral candidate Simon Menzies, has resulted in club members now being cut off from their regular newsletter after they treated the communication as spam.

Spange, who is retired, has lodged a complaint with the Federal Privacy Commission claiming the Mosman Rowers, whose Treasurer is listed as Simon Menzies, had no right allowing their databases to be used for “political purposes”.

Investigations by Sprange reveal the Mosman Rowers databases are housed on the servers of US Company, mynewsletterbuilder.com.

He claims that he has confronted members of the board which includes Tim James, the Chief of Staff to NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts, and that nothing has been done about the matter.

Tim James told SmartHouse the matter is currently under investigation, that a board meeting has been called to resolve the issue and that a determination will be made “later this week”.

Spange said “The problem started when member of the Rowers Club got an unsolicited email from Simon Menzies during his failed run for Mayor, when they hit the delete spam button as I did they discovered that they were automatically deleted from the club database”.

“My investigations reveal that there are 1700 people on the Rowers database, I have also been advised by the email Company that syndicated the emails on behalf of the Menzies for Mayor Organisers that once one has been removed that they cannot automatically reinstate a person to the email database”.

Sprange claims that members of the Mosman Rowers were aware of the breach and that some members of the Mosman Rowers Club were open supporters of the Menzies for Mayor campaign. One executive of the club was seen helping out at polling booths wearing a Menzies For Mayor T Shirt.

The alleged breach has been exposed as Attorney-General Nicola Roxon this morning released a discussion paper to seek comment on whether organisations should be required to report misuse of email database breaches, what kind of breaches should have to be reported, who should be notified, and what penalties should apply for failure to comply.

She claims that organisations like the Mosman Rowers should be required to notify customers if the security of their personal information has been compromised.

 
The Privacy Commission has confirmed they received a complaint about the use of the Mosman Rowers database in August and that the matter is still under investigation.

The Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner claims that they have received no notification of a breach by the Mosman Rowers Club.

Simon Menzies, who is now a Councillor on Mosman Council, has not returned calls on the issue.

“Australians who transact online rightfully expect their personal information will be protected,” Ms Roxon said.

Nicola Roxon said “More personal information about Australians than ever before is held online, and several high-profile data breaches have shown that this information can be susceptible.”

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