Councillor Paul Convery last week gave assurances over data security at the Town Hall
Published: 25 July, 2012
by ANDREW JOHNSON
BUNGLING council officials are scrambling to contain another massive data leak after it emerged that the names and addresses of 2,400 tenants had been posted on a website.
The cock-up follows a highly damaging leak in April when the details of residents who had complained about anti-social behaviour on the Andover estate were handed over to the very same criminals.
The latest leak happened on June 26 when the housing department responded to a Freedom of Information request into the ethnicity and gender of people it had rehoused. It handed over a spreadsheet containing the information to the website Whatdotheyknow? which published it online. But the spreadsheet also contained the names, marital status and addresses of 2,400 residents.
The mistake happened because the sensitive information was not immediately visible – but it could be accessed from the website by people familiar with the spreadsheet software.
The data was online for two weeks before the Town Hall was notified of the error last Monday – July 16 – resulting in fears that the information could have fallen into the hands of identity thieves.
Last Thursday crime chief Councillor Paul Convery assured a Town Hall watchdog committee looking into April’s leak that new tightened-up procedures had been put in place to prevent such blunders in the future – even though one already had.
Lib Dem leader Terry Stacy has lambasted the council as “incompetent” and described the new leak as a “disaster”.
“This comes less than a week after we were reassured by the Labour leadership after supposedly thorough audits of data protection at the council that everything was okay and this couldn’t happen again,” he said.
“How wrong it seems they were. This is yet another data disaster, and this time more than 2,000 residents’ details are out in public because of incompetence from this Labour council.”
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