ABS staff member arrested for Criminal Code and Corporations Acts offences

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ABS staff member arrested for Criminal Code and Corporations Acts offences
9 May 2014

As a result of a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation, supported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), an ABS staff member was today arrested by the Australian Federal Police for a range of offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 and Corporations Act 2001.

The arrested staff member, a relatively junior officer with trusted access to a number of economic collections both pre- and post-publication, is alleged to have disclosed sensitive statistics that were under embargo. The officer has been suspended.

No other ABS staff are suspected of involvement. There is no evidence that the unauthorised disclosure included details about an individual person or business.

The ABS unequivocally regards unauthorised disclosure of embargoed statistics as a criminal act and an appalling breach of trust.

The ABS is committed to maintaining a strict embargo for the release of statistics to ensure no one can obtain an inappropriate advantage from early access.

The ABS has a strong information security culture underpinned by appropriate systems and processes. All ABS staff sign an Undertaking of Fidelity and Secrecy in relation to the secrecy of information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and sign an Employee Declaration to Confidentiality and Secrecy under the Public Service Act 1999 and Crimes Act.

ABS staff are highly aware of embargo, privacy and confidentiality policies and their obligations relating to the collection, production and dissemination of statistics. The arrest of an ABS staff member for unauthorised disclosure of statistics is unprecedented in ABS history spanning more than 100 years.

A review will be undertaken so that we learn from this incident.

Further comment cannot be made as this is an ongoing AFP investigation and the matter is before the courts.

Further details can be found in the joint AFP/ASIC media release at www.afp.gov.au, and enquiries should be directed to the AFP national media team on (02) 6131 6333 (24 hours).

Media note: Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.