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Government Security Problem Raises Concerns

03 January 2020 - 11:25 by Graham Miller

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The New Years Honours list is usually a widely celebrated and debated topic, but in the final days of 2019 it became the subject of controversy after those worthy enough to be recognised with a title had their personal information leaked on the web.

The Telegraph reports that as well as celebrities and sports stars, high-profile politicians and even members of law enforcement occupying roles in counter-terrorism were left exposed in the error.

Home addresses of honours recipients remained online for over an hour due to an accidental posting made from within the Cabinet Office.

The fact that the Cabinet Office itself is the body which holds sway over the tactics that the entirety of the UK government and armed forces use to deal with cybercrime in the first place is not an especially reassuring one.

An investigation into the incident will be held, and the office could be fined £17 million should it be decided that it has failed to adhere to rules and regulations governing data security.

The extent of the issue is difficult to gauge given that at the time of writing there has been no confirmation of precisely how many times the file was accessed during the 90-minute window when it was available on an official government website.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has been made aware of this event and will be presiding over the ongoing investigation.

The threats facing citizens of the UK are many and varied in the context of cybercrime. Being able to carry out safe shopping online or submit details to a government body is something that relies on a degree of trust, since it becomes the responsibility of the organisation to keep this personal information safe.

Seeing that even the richest and most powerful people in the land can be exposed in a simple error like this is no doubt worrying.