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Council error sees e-mail details leaked

PUBLISHED: 18:14 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 22 July 2010

A BLUNDER by Islington Council staff saw the private e-mail addresses of hundreds of residents who took part in a consultation leaked into cyberspace.

A BLUNDER by Islington Council staff saw the private e-mail addresses of hundreds of residents who took part in a consultation leaked into cyberspace.

Residents were left scratching their heads over how council staff managed to make the mistake which revealed the names and e-mail addresses of everyone who e-mailed their views to Islington Council for the Dog Control Consultation, which ended on April 18.

The consultation looked at how new Dog Control Orders can be used to clamp down on things like dog fouling and make dog owners control their dogs in public.

More than 1,500 people responding to the consultation online, with a further 200 e-mails to the council. When council staff e-mailed back to thank the residents for taking part, they forgot to click the blind carbon copy or "Bcc" function which hides the e-mail addresses of the recipients.

A few hours later the staff realised their mistake and head of street environment services, Kenny Wilks, e-mailed the residents again to apologise - this time successfully hiding the addresses of the recipients. Mr Wilks said: "A member of my staff made a simple technical error that resulted in e-mail addresses being made visible to everyone in the distribution list.

"Please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience or distress this has caused you. Upon becoming aware of the mistake we tried to recall the message with some success. I am apologising to everyone who has been inconvenienced and would like to re-assure you that no other personal information has been revealed. I ask for your co-operation in respecting the privacy of other responders by deleting the e-mail addresses of others."

One of the residents, who did not want to be named, said: "After all the recent blunders by local authorities who failed to keep residents' personal information private, how can something like this happen?"

An Islington Council spokesman said: "We would never usually circulate the e-mail addresses of people responding to consultations - we're very sorry to say that this is down to an administrative error on our part, and we want to apologise to all those affected.


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