Student Journalist Sparks confidential Hackney Council data leak

hackerWhat started of as a simple freedom of information request to Hackney Homes, resulted in 15,000 Hackney Homes tenants and leaseholders personal information laid bare for all to view on the internet for 11 days, before the blunder was brought to the attention of Hackney Council.

Personal information released included addresses, sexuality, ethnicity, date of birth, start date of tenancy, housing benefit account details and rent accounts, were published on What Do They Know. The security breach was noticed on November 25, however those affected were not informed until December 17, when letters were sent, outlining the error.

Hackney council while admitting the faux pas, is at the same time downplaying the security breach, by explaining to residents affected “they doubt the information was widely distributed because only 11 people viewed it”.

In a statement released on their site, they claim the sensitive information “were not visible to a causal viewer of the document, but were cached within it. This means that an earlier version of the document – which contained the sensitive information – was accessible to those with detailed IT knowledge who could potentially manipulate the spreadsheet to reveal the information”.

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