New Zealand ComCom suffers breach after laptop theft

Laptop belonging to 'external provider' containing over 200 meeting and interview transcripts taken in burglary, which has seen the provider dumped.

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A stock image representation

Confidential information handed to New Zealand's Commerce Commission (ComCom) could be caught up in the theft of a laptop containing over 200 meeting and interview transcripts.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ComCom said it was made aware of the theft last week and that the laptop belonged to an "external provider".

"The transcripts may date back to early 2016 and contain some confidential information businesses and individuals have provided the Commission," it said.

"The Commission's own network and systems have not been breached."

ComCom chief executive Adrienne Meikle was confident the laptop would be recovered, and the Commission was contacting those potentially affected by the theft, as well as working with police.

"Some of the information is subject to a confidentiality order issued by the Commission under section 100 of the Commerce Act," Meikle said.

"This makes it a criminal offence for any person in possession of the devices or information from the devices to disclose or communicate it to anyone while the orders are in force. We are also exploring other potential legal avenues to help protect the confidentiality of the information."

Meikle added the provider would be dumped by the Commission and apologised for the breach.

"While this breach has resulted from criminal activity and our provider failing to meet the obligations we placed on it, it is our job to keep sensitive information safe," she said.

A pair of independent reviews have begun in the wake of the theft, as well as ComCom contacting its suppliers to seek security assurances.

People concerned whether they are caught up in the breach are urged to contact ComCom.

Last month, the Commission said New Zealand did not need regulatory intervention for a fourth national network.

Following the launch of 2degrees, Vodafone and Spark's market shares have dropped by 12.5% and 8% respectively since 2009. Vodafone is out front with 40.5% of the mobile market, Spark claims 38%, and 2degrees has 20.5% of New Zealand mobile subscriptions.

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