Home Office in hot water over Brexit data breach

Home Office in second email bluder in same week appologises again |  Home Office “the most shambolic of all” says shadow home secretary. A UK government department has violated data privacy regulations for the second time in a week. And once again, the department has had to apologise for committing its second data breach of UK residents. Apparently, the Home Office has “accidentally” shared details of hundreds of EU nationals seeking settled status. The department informed the 240 applicants that it had “inadvertently” exposed their email addresses to other people who had applied under the scheme in an attempt to discover the reasons behind “technical difficulties” they had been experiencing. The department sent an email to the EU nationals who were affected by this latest error, saying :

We take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident. We value your patience and understanding at this time. We would like to reassure you that we are taking this matter very seriously.

This latest blunder comes within days of the Home Office apologising to members of the Windrush generation again, after it confessed to sharing 500 personal email addresses during the launch of the compensation scheme. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott (Labour) said:

Under this shambolic government the Tories’ mismanagement of the Home Office stands out as being the most shambolic of all. Data breaches are now a matter of routine, while all those who are unfortunate enough to have to deal with the Home Office face a combination of indifference, incompetence and the hostile environment.

A Danish national who received the email tweeted: “Not only am I not welcome, my own data is not even safe by the government who requested said data because they don’t even know who is in this country!” Natasha Jung, another Danish national who received the email on Wednesday, said: “When will the UK wake up and realise that EU citizens are being treated as second-class citizens? We have had zero say in the entire process, despite Brexit affecting us the most.” Nicolas Hatton, co-founder of campaign group the3million, commented: “3.6 million EU citizens are forced to entrust the Home Office with their most sensitive data. …A data breach within the first week of the Settled Status launch does raise the question whether the Home Office has the right safeguards in place to keep our data safe.” A Home Office spokesperson said:

In communicating with a small group of applicants, an administrative error was made which meant other applicants’ email addresses could be seen. …As soon as the error was identified, we apologised personally to the 240 applicants affected and have improved our systems and procedures to stop this occurring again.

Sources: The Independent

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