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Sep 06, 2003 5:08 pm Job Opening Security Guard(s) Australia
Richard Danielli
Inquiry reopens over airport security blunder
September 5, 2003 - 12:10PM

The chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into the security of government information technology today said it would reopen because of a breach at Australia's biggest airport.

Liberal MP Bob Charles also demanded to know why Customs didn't tell his committee about the theft of two Customs computer servers from Sydney airport.

Two men claiming to be computer technicians stole the servers after they were allowed into the Customs cargo processing and intelligence centre on August 27.

Police and security services are investigating the incident.

An angry Mr Charles asked Customs official Gail Batman why she had failed to tell a separate inquiry into aviation security about the thefts when she appeared as a witness yesterday.

"How you could appear before us and not tell us about this security breach is just beyond my comprehension," Mr Charles said.

Ms Batman said she had not wanted to damage a federal police investigation into the incident by making it public.

"We certainly don't want to compromise that (investigation)," Ms Batman said.

"The people that stole these servers are certainly ones that we want to see caught and prosecuted."

Ms Batman said the stolen servers did not contain sensitive information.

"They did not contain any personal, business-related or security information, and they are not servers that are used to communicate with law enforcement or security agencies," Ms Batman said.

Mr Charles said it was obvious computer security in the government needed to be investigated further.

"If someone can walk into a government secure environment and walk out with mainframes, then I don't know what guarantee we have of information technology security," Mr Charles said.

"I have just instructed our inquiry secretary to reopen the hearings and reopen the inquiry." Ms Batman said security at Customs had been stepped up since the theft.

Immigration officers kept in the dark
Immigration department officials voiced concern today that they were not told of the theft.

Immigration department officials told a parliamentary committee into aviation security that immigration data was often stored on Customs computers.

Although they had no data on the two stolen computers, they believed Customs should have told them of the theft.

"The question remains, why did we (first) hear it on (ABC radio program) AM this morning?", immigration official Graham Hanna told the committee.


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