ASIC checks concerning glitch
ASIC is bringing in lawyers to see if it accidentally assisted insider trading.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s website was last year found to have a flawed search tool that allowed people to access all ASIC documents sent to any email address.
The search box required no identification, and potentially allowed to spy on the company research of private equity investors, using only their email address.
ASIC has informed 770 people that their records were forwarded to another email account.
There are concerns that the tool was used to reveal companies that were being targeted for mergers, which could be used to create a competitive advantage.
Additionally, looking at which documents were sent to journalists could have revealed upcoming scandals or wrongdoing.
Given that one of ASIC’s jobs is to prevent insider trading, it has been slammed for taking months to fix the flaw.
“We do not view this as being OK,” ASIC commissioner John Price told a recent parliamentary inquiry.
“Just the mere fact of being able to view what searches people have done, in our view, may well constitute a breach of privacy.
“If someone knew another person's email address and could see what they've searched, you might be able to draw inferences depending on what their profession was,” Mr Price said.
ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour said the regulator has brought in Australian Government Solicitors to test the concerns “from a market surveillance perspective”.