Wednesday 26 November 2014

Gardai apologise for data breach after email reveals 1,700 email addresses

Email sent was an ‘administrative error’, garda spokesperson says

Eoghan McNeill

Published 02/09/2014 | 11:26

Child making homework on keyboard computer PC
Email addresses can be considered "personal data" in certain circumstances and thus are subject to Ireland's data protection laws.

An email account operated by the Gardaí yesterday inadvertently circulated the personal email addresses of 1,500 people after an administration error.

Dublin North Central Gardaí sent a community policing information bulletin to 1,746 people, failing to hide recipients' addresses to others receiving the newsletter.

Email addresses can be considered "personal data" in certain circumstances and thus are subject to Ireland's data protection laws.

A spokesperson from the Garda Press Office said the email was immediately recalled.

"This was an administrative error for which we apologise. As soon as this error was realised, the e-mail was recalled."

"Measures have been put in place to ensure that such an error does not happen again."

When sending email to distribution lists, it is considered best practice to use the "Blind Carbon Copy" function, which prevents unwanted disclosure of addresses.

The email was intended to inform Dublin North Central locals of interviews and questionnaires completed by Gardaí and did "not contain any personal information," according to the Garda Press Office.

However, the recipients' addresses were visible.

"The community policing information bulletin has proven to be a popular way for local Gardai to engage with the local community.

"It is one of a number of measures used by local Gardai to engage with the local community," said the spokesperson.

A spokesperson for the Data Protection Commissioner has said it has not received any reports or complaints on the issue.

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