Telstra Outage Leaves Nearly 800 Criminals Unmonitored For 24 Hours
The electronic bracelets keeping check of close to 800 criminals failed due to a nationwide Telstra outage.
The Department for Correctional Services in South Australia confirmed on Sunday the fault was first noticed when the devices of 774 offenders failed to "call in" early Friday morning, leaving their movements untracked in real time.
The devices remained offline until about midday on Saturday, Chief executive of the department David Brown told reporters.
"It was quickly established that it was a network outage with Telstra that was the root cause of the problem," he said.
Contingency plans were put in place, which included bringing in additional staff to do phone checks and to perform home visits to offenders.
All offenders have since been accounted for except for one, who police are now tasked with finding.
Brown explained that while the devices were not online to upload the movements of offenders in real time, correctional services staff were able to retrospectively go over all the electronic monitoring data to establish the movements of offenders during that time.
The unaccounted-for offender, who is on remand for attempted aggravated theft, is on intensive bail supervision, Brown said. The man failed to report to his address after he was released by the court on bail on Thursday night.
"Any offender who breaches the conditions of an order placed on them by the court is a concern and that offender was deemed suitable to be released on bail by the court and he will answer to the court as to why he failed to comply with the conditions of his bail."
Telstra said the outage, which impacted machines including EFTPOS and ATMS, resulted in "intermittent authentication of devices which prevented some of them connecting to the network."
"We place the highest priority on the reliability of the underlying connectivity used to provide the service and Telstra will explore options with our customers on how to add further resilience to the service," a spokesperson said in a statement.
"Our team worked through the night on the fix and all devices should now be capable of connecting."
Premier Steven Marshall said the cause of the outage would be thoroughly investigated.
Correctional Services Minister Corey Wingard said he was in conversation with Telstra, which was well aware of how the State Government felt about the "unacceptable" fault.
Wingard said following an investigation, further contingencies would be put in place if needed.
"I've spoken to Telstra, this is totally unacceptable, they know very firmly how we feel," he said.
This isn't the first time Australian authorities have lost track of monitored criminals due to an outage.
In May, authorities in the Northern Territory and Queensland lost contact with almost 400 criminals due to Telstra outages.
The signal of 85 offenders in the NT was lost for up to four days, while 299 individuals were affected by a 45-minute outage in Queensland.
Brown said there is no obvious way offenders can tell their bracelets are not performing the way they should be.