Feeds

Home Office clumsily LEAKS data of 1,598 immigrants, blames 'transparency'

Nodding watchdog: We're looking closely at this one

Website security in corporate America

The Home Office has embarrassingly coughed to accidentally leaking the personal details of 1,598 immigrants.

Applicants in the “family returns” process had some of their personal data exposed online for nearly a fortnight, immigration minister Mark Harper admitted in a written statement to Parliament on Thursday.

He blamed the government's transparency agenda for the error by, in effect, suggesting that such a data breach was a horrible side effect of Whitehall being more open with taxpayers about its policies.

Harper said:

Unfortunately between 15 and 28 October 2013 some personal data was available on the Home Office website as part of a spreadsheet alongside the regular data set in error. This was identified by Home Office officials on 28 October 2013 and the personal information was removed immediately.

The personal data related to the names of 1,598 main applicants in the family returns process, their date of birth and limited details about their immigration case type and status. It did not include personal addresses or financial information.

The minster added that the Home Office had confessed to the cockup by notifying the Information Commissioner's Office of the breach. Harper claimed that measures had been implemented to prevent such a blunder recurring. Bods at Theresa May's department have also scanned the HO site to check for any similar errors that may have previously taken place.

Fewer than 30 people visited the relevant website page during the period when the sensitive data was exposed, Harper claimed.

A spokesman at the ICO told The Register that the watchdog had been informed of the clumsy mistake.

"We will 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," he said. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.