C: Joshua Hayes. No changes. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Data breach of “monumental proportions” at PSNI

The PSNI has apologised after it acknowledged a data breach of “monumental proportions” which saw the police force mistakenly publishing personal information including names, ranks, locations and other data of every serving police officer and civilian employee – some 10,000 people.

When responding to a Freedom of Information request, the PSNI mistakenly shared names of all police and civilian PSNI personnel, and information as to where they are based and their roles in the force.

The details were then published online, before being removed three hours later.

Apologising to officers, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said the error was “unacceptable” and that the PSNI were operating “in an environment, at the moment, where there is a severe threat to our colleagues from Northern Ireland-related terrorism and this is the last thing that anybody in the organisation wants to be hearing this evening”.

The Belfast Telegraph said that the breach of “ultra-confidential” information was a “gold mine” for terrorists.

The data from the PSNI’s ultra-confidential human resources system is a gold mine for terrorists, offering details of officers working in intelligence and other highly sensitive areas – including almost 40 PSNI staff based with MI5.

During a media briefing held at PSNI headquarters on the Knock Road, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Chris Todd apologised for the data breach and said the information had been online for around three hours.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland described the data posting as a breach of “monumental proportions” and said it should never have happened.

The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Liam Kelly, has expressed dismay and anger over a potential major security breach of officers’ details by the PSNI.

Surnames, staff numbers, roles and where officers are based was published as part of an FOI request.

Mr Kelly is insisting an urgent inquiry is required and wants to hear from the Chief Constable and his senior colleagues the steps they intend taking to limit the damage to protect identities.

Mr Kelly said: “This is a breach of monumental proportions. Even if it was done accidentally, it still represents a data and security breach that should never have happened.

The leaked data “reveals members of the organised crime unit, telecom liaison officers, intelligence officers stationed at ports and airports, PSNI pilots in its air support unit, officers in the surveillance unit and – of acute sensitivity – almost 40 PSNI staff based at MI5’s headquarters in Holywood,” the Belfast Telegraph said.

The breach also listed a tiny number of individuals as being part of a “secret” unit – marking them as highly sensitive operatives, while also giving their name.

GB News said that the document – a spreadsheet – did not give home addresses, but that it was a “major, major breach.”

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