British privacy and intelligence experts have raised alarm bells after a government department in charge of the U.K.s cybersecurity strategy accidentally published the addresses of prominent public figures and government officials.
A spreadsheet listing the addresses of 1,097 prominent public figures, including musician Elton John, politician Iain Duncan Smith, as well as top civil servants, academics and Holocaust survivors, was accidentally published online Friday by the U.K. Cabinet Office. The people in the list were recipients of New Years Honors, a British lifetime achievement award.
The leak could endanger the lives of police and government officials working on sensitive cases, experts warned on Sunday.
“A number of those receiving honours are employed in extremely sensitive positions in the police and intelligence agencies,” Richard Walton, the former head of counterterrorism at Scotland Yard, told the Sunday Times.
“The release of the private addresses of these individuals into the public domain will mean that a threat and risk assessment will need to be undertaken resulting in some having new private security measures introduced into their homes,” he added.
“This could be catastrophic,” prominent data rights lawyer Ravi Naik told the Guardian. “It is hard to put the information genie back in the bottle once its out. This quite sensitive data will spread like a virus and is extremely difficult to remedy.”
Silkie Carlo, the director of privacy non-profit Big Brother Watch said it was worrying to see the government lacking a “basic grip on data protection.”
“Its a farcical and inexcusable mistake, especially given the new Data Protection Act passed by the government last year — it clearly cant stick by its rules,” Carlo told theRead More – Source