Immigration confirms investigation into Nauru data theft

Immigration officials confirm the theft of highly sensitive data on Nauru is under investigation by the AFP, as well as the Moss inquiry into allegations that detainees were abused.

Immigration officials remained tight-lipped in Senate estimates under sustained questioning about the reported theft of devices containing highly sensitive information about asylum seekers at the Nauru detention centre earlier this year.

The incident is under investigation by both the Australian Federal Police and former integrity commissioner Phillip Moss, as part of his inquiry into allegations asylum seekers were abused on Nauru. Beyond that, senior public servants from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection were unwilling to say much or even explicitly confirm the incident took place.

Senator Kim Carr recapped the incident in a question to DIBP bureaucrats in Monday’s estimates hearing concerning the portfolio:

“The assertion is that [the alleged theft] involves detainees’ complete personal details, case files and medical histories, as well as their protection claims detailing why they have felt forced to leave their home country to claim asylum in Australia. It is reported that the stolen files contain caseworkers’ notes on detainees, including mental health and behavioural issues, complaints about treatment and allegations of abuse, and the minutes of ‘vulnerable minors’ meetings, where the issues faced by children in detention were discussed. Did that occur?”

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