Friday, October 14, 2022

‘Even one hour after we published we started to receive threats’ – Pandora Papers anniversary podcast

 Minimising tax is legal. A new report accuses Microsoft of doing it on a grand scale

Medibank doesn’t know if your data is private after ‘incident’

Ayesha de KretserSenior Reporter

Australia’s biggest health insurance company Medibank confirmed it is the latest corporate target of a cyberattack, but the insurer is unable to say whether its members’ sensitive health information might have been compromised.

In a statement to the ASX on Thursday, Medibank said it had detected “unusual activity” and a spokeswoman did not answer questions regarding the nature of the attack.

Later on Thursday Medibank said it would be contacting its 3.7 million members, without saying what about, as it moved to bring some of the customer-facing systems it had taken offline back into action.

Jefferies analyst Vanessa Thomson said while it remained unclear whether “policyholder accounts have been compromised nor if any sensitive data has been accessed”, Medibank had access to highly personal data.

“Health insurers store highly confidential personal data and if sensitive data is compromised policyholders could face identity theft, loss of sensitive information as well as the time and effort needed to secure their data going forward,” Ms Thomson said.

Medibank doesn’t know if your data is private after ‘incident’


:We’re taking you behind-the-scenes of what it was like to publish one of the most immediately impactful Pandora Papers investigations at this time, last year.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was one of dozens of heads-of-state uncovered in the files, and the project was launched mere days before general elections that the populist billionaire was widely expected to win. But after Pandora Papers findings on his secret offshore deals overshadowed his re-election campaign, Babiš lost the race by a razor-thin margin.

In a new episode of the Meet The Investigators podcast, ICIJ member Pavla Holcová, founder of Investigace, a Czech center for investigative journalism, talks about the lessons learned and challenges her team faced in reporting the explosive story — including negotiating a publication date with hundreds of Pandora Papers partners.

“We really tried to move the date … We are going to be accused of influencing elections and so on. We will really get into shitstorm,” says Pavla. But as a longtime ICIJ partner, she understood that the compromises needed to make large-scale journalism collaborations work were well worth the payoff.

“We just said, ‘Yes, we just need to brace ourselves for a really hard time. But let’s do it.’”

Threats started coming within the hour of the stories going live, Pavla says. Unfortunately, grave threats were nothing new for her team. In 2018, their colleague Ján Kuciak was murdered while investigating the Slovak government’s ties to the Italian mafia.

In the podcast, Pavla discusses how reporters in the region used collaborative journalism to fight back against the murder and shares more about her remarkable career, her very practical advice for journalists to avoid burnout, her views on producing investigations that make an impact, and more.

“You are not writing the story to take down the government … You are writing the story to inform people,” Pavla says. “For me, the joy came from the cooperation with other journalists and from sharing and talking.”

We talk to former Boeing manager Ed Pierson, who went public with intel related to the tragic Boeing airplane crashes in 2018 and 2019, ahead of a panel at this week’s Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium.

The Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium runs this week from October 13 to 17 and features panels and online screenings, including “The Killing of a Journalist” about the murder of Slovak reporter Ján Kuciak and “The Grab” about nations’ efforts to sweep disappearing natural resources. Use ICIJ’s 10% discount code ICIJ22 to purchase tickets.

Thanks for reading!

Asraa Mustufa

ICIJ's digital editor

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