Home Office admits email blunder resulting in data breach
– but no penalty imposed by ICO?
The UK Home Office has apologised to hundreds of EU citizens seeking settled status in the UK, after accidentally sharing their details.
Apparently, the government department blamed an “administrative error” for sending out an email that displayed 240 personal email addresses.
BBC News reported that the department may now have to make an apology in Parliament.
Interestingly, there has been no mention of a fine being imposed by the ICO, so far.
In a statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, a government spokesperson said the department had since improved its systems and procedures. One of the recipients of the email told Today that she was “outraged” and was considering returning to Germany.
The email was sent out by the Home Office last Sunday, 7th April, advising applicants, who had been struggling with technical problems, to resubmit their information. However, some bright spark at the Home Office failed to use the “blind CC” box on the email, thus revealing details of all 240 applicants.
In another message apologising to those who had been affected, the Home Office wrote: “The deletion of the email you received from us on 7 April 2019 would be greatly appreciated.”
Reportedly, the government has already apologised unreservedly, after making a similar email blunder, when emails were sent to 500 members of the Windrush generation. On this occasion the department notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and made a statement in Parliament.
Until Brexit, EU citizens in the UK can still apply for settled status, which allows them to continue to live and work there afterwards. Applicants and campaigning groups have criticised the system, saying it has proved slow and bureaucratic for some.
Source: BBC News