Feeds

Google Groups blunder exposes THOUSANDS of Japanese govt emails

Messages are public-by-default you say? Oh dear...

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The Japanese government has admitted sharing thousands of email conversations with world+dog after a mix-up over Google Groups' privacy settings.

Officials from several ministries shared messages on the free web-based service without realising that the default setting is for public access to all discussions, the Daily Yomiuri reported.

Staff at the Environment Ministry; Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry; and Reconstruction Agency all seem to have leaked.

“Our security awareness was weak,” an Environment Ministry official told the paper.

Blunders at the ministry exposed emails sent back in January relating to government negotiations at the Minamata Convention on Mercury, including those of its chief negotiator Ryutaro Yatsu.

All offending messages have now been made private, however, the ministry has apparently begun an investigation into the accidental leak, suspecting the use of Google Groups may have violated internal regulations.

“We have our own internal system to share e-mails, but we used Google because it was convenient,” an official told the Yomiuri.

The Japanese government is not the only institution to be left red-faced after the revelations. Data affecting 5,000 people was apparently exposed in the same way by various private businesses and medical institutions.

Although not mentioned in its own story, the Yomiuri has also admitted some of its journalists accidentally revealed draft stories and interview transcripts thanks to Google Groups blunders, AFP claimed.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.