A list of more than 1,000 celebrities, government employees and politicians receiving honours was published on a Government website on the evening of Friday 27th December 2019.
The list included the recipients’ full home and work addresses. The list was taken down on early Saturday 28th December 2019. It is known how many times the list was viewed.
The Cabinet Office has since confirmed that the recipients’ addresses were published in error, apologised to those affected and is “looking into how it happened”.
As required, the Cabinet Office has also now referred itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the information watchdog with the power to fine organisations for data breaches, who will now investigate the matter.
Sean Humber, a data breach specialist at law firm Leigh Day, stated: “The data breach is serious because it is likely to adversely affect the privacy and security of a significant number of people on the list, including senior police officers, Defence officials, politicians and celebrities, who for a variety of understandable reasons had previously chosen not to disclose their personal details.
“Completely distinct from any fine the ICO may levy against the Government, those individuals on the list affected by the data breach are likely to have claims for compensation for the unauthorised disclosure of their personal information, including for any anxiety and distress suffered, as well the costs of any reasonable action they now feel they need to take as a result of the blunder.”