Australian Agency Accidentally Leaked World Leaders’ Personal Information
Personal details from many of the world’s most powerful leaders were mistakenly leaked by Australia’s immigration department at last years G20 summit, and the agency never bothered to tell anyone about it.
After a FOIA request from The Guardian, the newspaper revealed that an employee at the agency accidentally sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal information about all the world leaders at last years summit to organizers of a local soccer tournament.
The agency attributed the release of information about president Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese president Xi Jinping, and others to human error and said a single employee forgot to check the email function which automatically enters a person’s email address in the ‘To’ field, and the email was sent to the wrong person.
According to a report released by the immigration department, the recipient of the inadvertent data leak, whose name was redacted, immediately contacted the agency to inform them of their mistake. The unauthorized recipient then deleted the email and emptied their deleted emails folder, leading Australian authorities to believe the email is unrecoverable and not stored anywhere.
Officers at the immigration department then felt it was not necessary to inform any of the world leaders of their accidental data breach, because they considered the risk of the email being more widely distributed to be very low, and they were taking further actions to limit the damage.
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