Feeds

West Yorkshire Gay Police Association in email list leak FAIL

Details of Pride sign-ups spilled

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Information Commissioner's Office is looking into an alleged breach of the Data Protection Act after the West Yorkshire branch of the Gay Police Association (WYGPA) mistakenly leaked names and email addresses to around 100 people signed up to an LGBT mailing list.

The Register was first alerted to the email gaffe by an eagle-eyed reader who spotted a student doctor complaining about it on Twitter.

"Just received an email from West Yorkshire Police LGBT Association which discloses the email addresses of everyone on their mailing list," said Jacob Lovie on the microblogging site.

"Everyone has been CC'd. I'm in a little bit of shock. It's their entire LGBT mailing list."

He added: "Surely that's in breach of the data protection act? What if any of those people aren't out? Terrible."

However, when El Reg first contacted the West Yorkshire Police, we were surprised by the force's gay police association's initial response to the data-handling cockup.

A spokesman for the West Yorkshire GPA said:

We are aware of this issue in which an email asking for volunteers was sent to interested parties with the addresses listed in the 'cc' field and not the 'bcc' field.

The list to which the email was sent was a community contact list of email addresses volunteered to the West Yorkshire Gay Police Association at Pride events in 2011, for the purpose of circulating information about community projects, events, recruitment or volunteering.

Those emailed were not members of the WYGPA, and had provided their email addresses when attending a public event and indicated they wanted to be contacted with information and news, such as the contents of this email.

No confidential information was disclosed and no other details other than the email addresses of those individuals are held by us, and these email addresses are retained solely by the WYGPA.

We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to anyone who is concerned by this mistake, which was made innocently, and we would like to assure everyone that steps have been taken to ensure that the same mistake will not happen again.

We pressed the WYGPA for more details about the data blunder and asked several times if it would be informing the ICO of a potential breach.

Late on Friday the WYPGA finally told us that it would be contacting the UK's data watchdog "at the earliest opportunity" and added that the matter had been reported to the force's professional standards department.

the group further confirmed that the mailing list in question contained around 160 email addresses, with around 60 messages bouncing back to the sender.

The ICO said it had "recently been made aware of this possible breach", and added that it would "be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken".

West Yorkshire Police separately spoke with Jacob Lovie about the data leak. He later tweeted: "Just got off the phone wit[h] West Yorkshire Police, everyt[h]ing has been sorted and they've sent an apology email out. #Impressed." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.