Medicare data breach: Alan Tudge admits department unaware darknet vendor selling card details

Human services minister defends department’s security procedures as AFP investigate revelation that Australians’ card details are for sale online

The human services minister, Alan Tudge, has admitted that his department was unaware that a darknet vendor had been selling Australians’ Medicare details since October 2016.

On Tuesday an investigation by the Guardian revealed that a darknet vendor on a popular auction site for illegal products claimed to have access to any Australians’ Medicare card details and could supply them on request.

At least 75 Australians’ personal details appear to have been sold on the site. The Department of Human Services has referred the matter to the Australian federal police for investigation.

Tudge has faced pressure over his department’s handling and response to the incident, and in an interview with ABC Breakfast’s Fran Kelly on Wednesday admitted his department had not been previously aware the data was being sold.

“We first found out about it yesterday because of the Guardian newspaper article,” he said. “Immediately upon hearing this claim, as we always do when there is a claim of criminal activity or fraud, the AFP is alerted and we undertake an internal investigation.”


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