It is the same computer system, nicknamed TRUMPS, hacked in 2008 by two organised crime networks through which car owners paid corrupt public servants to wipe clean their vehicle defect records.
The latest scandal has been revealed in a release of FoI documents, but the Transport Department will not explain why the pair of hackers were again allowed access to the system before finally having their recent contracts renewals rejected.
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In May, the two women were caught using specific search terms because they said they were “curious” about what the drivers, who were booked in for vehicle checks, looked like.
TRUMPS was illegally misused in 2009 by employee Emma Kate Aubert, of Adelaide, who pleaded guilty to 19 counts of abuse of public office and two counts of dishonestly dealing with documents, after she was caught releasing confidential information such as home addresses and personal details, clearing defect notices from cars and charging $5000 to make a fake driver’s licence.
But when asked to explain details of the current incident, the Transport Department would only release information that played down its seriousness, including that the “curiosity” was not of a sexual nature, that it was not malicious and that the images and information were not shared with anyone.
The two staff members were banned from talking about the hacking to anyone except their partners and the union during their disciplinary hearings. But a letter of apology by one of the staff members, reveals more about the case.
In it the hacker explained: “The searches that I made were nothing more than curiosity as to appearance.
“My actions and behaviour were an incredibly stupid act and never was there any intention to use the information that I accessed for any personal use or malice against the said individuals. For my inappropriate actions and behaviour, I am truly sorry.”
Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire, who applied for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, said he was concerned that some public servants had the time during work hours to look through hundreds of photographs.
“It is obvious that some other areas of the public service are underworked and overstaffed if people have time to be browsing people’s licence photos,” he said.
“This incident confirms that the State Government lacks focus on public sector performance and the increase of tens of thousands of public servants since they came to office.
“These failures have not only caused serious debt issues but also highlights the discrepancies. “But nurses, police and other frontline service delivery areas are under-resourced, overworked and have suffered the brunt of significant government cuts.”