After publishing the home addresses of more than 1,000 New Year Honours recipients including celebrities like Elton John and Ben Stokes on December 27, the UK Cabinet Office has apologised to the public on December 29. The list is said to have accidentally published on the official website last Friday. Anyone who visited the page to download it as a spreadsheet could obtain it. There were postcodes and house numbers of nearly every person recognised in the list, as per reports.
The list was promptly removed within hours after the leak. The matter has been reported with the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) in the UK. All the affected have been contacted by the Government.
"A version of the New Year Honours 2020 list was published in error which contained recipients' addresses. It was removed as soon as possible. We apologise to all those affected and are looking into how this happened. We have reported the matter to the ICO and are contacting all those affected directly," a Cabinet Office spokesperson
Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has confirmed that it received the information from the government and is "making inquiries" in response to the reports of a data breach. The former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake told the media that the government could face legal action from those whose addresses were published, as well as from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Kerslake suggested that human error could be to blame for the leak and called on investigators to look at whether staff was given training on data regulation while speaking in an interview over the radio.
The same was reiterated by Former Tory leader Sir Iain who told the media that how this was allowed to happen and why no final checks were carried out before the document was published remains a serious question to be asked by the ministers. He added that there were many in the list who worked for counter-terrorism whose details were published and that raises the alarm. Reports cite lawyers who specialise in data protection who think the ICO will see this as a less serious case of human error and may let the Cabinet Office escape with a warning about improving its practices.