Cabinet Office is hit with £500k fine for honours list data blunder that saw stars’ addresses leaked

  • Cabinet Office was fined after sharing addresses for New Year Honours recipient recipients 
  • Incorrectly setting up the IT system required for nominations caused error
  • In 2019, addresses were accessed 3,872 more times than usual while browsing the internet for longer than two hours.
  • The effects of the hurricanes affected over 1,000 persons, including Gabby Logan and Sir Elton John. 

It Cabinet Office received a half million pounds in fines yesterday after accidentally publishing the addresses of New Year Honours recipient.

More than 1000 people were affected by the data breach, including Sir Elton John and Gabby Logan (TV presenter)

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said ‘complacency’ within the department – which handles the honours – had jeopardised the safety of those ennobled last year. 

According to the probe, the mistake was caused when staff set up the wrong IT system for the processing of nominations. The file with full addresses was published by the Government’s website. 

The Cabinet Office was fined half a million pounds for accidentally sharing the addresses of New Year Honours recipients, including Sir Elton John (pictured), and TV cook Nadiya Hussain

For accidentally disclosing the addresses of New Year Honours recipients (including Sir Elton John and Nadiyahussain), The Cabinet Office was hit with a half-million pounds.

It was accessed 3872 times. In December 2019, it was still online for more than 2 hours.

Other victims included Ben Stokes, a cricketer, and former MI5 officers.

The ICO ruled yesterday that the department had breached data protection law by failing to put in place measures to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of personal information and fined it £500,000.

The Cabinet Office’s spokesperson said that it had ‘implemented several measures to prevent this from happening again.’

The breach was characterized as a “complete disaster” by Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader and who had been on the 2020 List.

The department published on December 27, 2019, a CSV file, which is commonly used for spreadsheets. It shows the unredacted addresses of the 1,097 recipients of New Year honors 2020.

The error was caused when an IT system was incorrectly set up and led to a file with recipients' addresses to be published online. Others affected included cricketer Ben Stokes (pictured)

An IT system error led to an incorrectly created file that allowed recipients’ addresses to go online. Ben Stokes, a cricketer (pictured), was also affected.

Officials discovered the problem and removed the weblink. However, it was cached online so that anyone could type in exactly the same web address.

The site was online for approximately two hours and 21 seconds. It was then accessed 3,872 more times.

The government has apologized for data breaches and stated that it was taking steps to prevent them from happening again.

Steve Eckersley is the ICO Director of Investigations. He stated that data breaches can have serious consequences in real life. More than 1000 people were affected in this instance.

“At a moment when they ought to have been celebrating the announcement of honour, they found themselves in distress at the revelation of their private details.

The Cabinet Office’s complacency in addressing the data breach risk meant that many people could have been exposed to identity fraud and other threats to personal safety.

“The Fine issued Today sends a message that other organizations must look after their information and ensure that they are regularly checking for appropriate security measures.