Probe af­ter data se­cu­rity breach

Macclesfield Express - - REMEMBRANCE - STU­ART GREER

ASOCIAL land­lord has ad­mit­ted a data se­cu­rity breach where pri­vate in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to al­most 1,000 res­i­dents was re­leased.

A mem­ber of staff from the Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence Team at Peaks and Plains Hous­ing Trust ac­ci­den­tally sent a mass email to 994 res­i­dents on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, but failed to use the ‘blind car­bon copy’ which con­ceals the iden­ti­ties of the re­cip­i­ents.

The trust has re­ported it­self to the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice (ICO), the reg­u­la­tor which in­ves­ti­gates cases of data mis­use and loss, and can im­pose crim­i­nal or civil penal­ties against those who break the rules.

The breach was re­ported to the Mac­cles­field Ex­press by a num­ber of ten­ants, who slammed the blun­der.

One de­scribed it as an ‘epic fail­ure’ and de­manded an apol­ogy.

Coun­cil­lor Mick War­ren, who rep­re­sents Mac­cles­field East ward in Cheshire East Coun­cil, said the breach was dis­ap­point­ing, adding: “Things like this hap­pen. It’s just for­tu­nate that the data breach doesn’t in­clude sen­si­tive data such as ad­dresses or phone num­bers.

“Peaks and Plains need to put in place train­ing to en­sure things like this doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Tim Pin­der, chief ex­ec­u­tive at Peaks and Plains, said the trust has launched an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said: “We are aware of the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent in which a num­ber of cus­tomer email ad­dresses were shared with each other and have launched an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We im­me­di­ately asked the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice to look into the mat­ter, and have re­viewed our own pro­ce­dures to en­sure that this does not hap­pen again.

“Peaks and Plains takes data pro­tec­tion ex­tremely se­ri­ously, and would like to apol­o­gise to any cus­tomers af­fected.”

The email sent to ten­ants in­cluded a draft of the trust’s re­vised Com­plaints and Com­pli­ments Pol­icy.

The 994 ad­dresses were in al­phanu­meric or­der from ‘1’ to ‘N’.

Ac­cord­ing to the ICO us­ing the car­bon copy func­tion in an email rather than blind car­bon copy is one of the most preva­lent types of data se­cu­rity in­ci­dents.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “We are aware of the in­ci­dent and we are mak­ing en­quiries.” ●● Staff cuts at Peaks and Plains ‘could re­sult in more anti-so­cial be­hav­iour’ – see page 13

●● Ava and Isla O’Brien en­joy the bon­fire at the Tyther­ing­ton Club. Left, fire­works were set off at The Church House Inn, Sut­ton

●● Thrilling fire­works were set off at Prest­bury Golf Club

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