Search

Huge data leak sees personal details of 15,000 Hackney residents published online

PUBLISHED: 13:57 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:57 19 December 2014

Hackney Council released the personal and financial details of 15,000 residents online.

Hackney Council released the personal and financial details of 15,000 residents online.

Archant

A massive blunder has seen the sensitive personal details of 15,000 Hackney residents – including address, sexuality and rent accounts – leaked online.

Bungling council officers have also revealed the age and housing benefit entitlement of Hackney Homes tenants and leaseholders in the botched Freedom of Information request, which was inadvertently published in full on the website What Do They Know (WDTK).

The private information was publicly available online for 11 days before the error was noticed on November 25 – but affected residents were only informed of the huge data breach in a letter sent out this week.

Hackney Council insists that only 11 people viewed the document, and that the data would have only been accessible to people with “detailed” IT knowledge.

But the data remains in the hands of the person who requested the FOI, and residents affected said they have been left vulnerable and in fear of identity theft.

One victim, Alan Zeligson, described the incident as “shocking” and said: “The information that was available on the website may be sold on. Residents and leaseholders are at risk of having their identities stolen.”

Tim Abrahams, 48, a Hackney Homes resident in Homerton, said: “It just seems to me that they are completely incompetent. I would say that is a product of the failure of the organisation as a whole and that if any individuals are going to get fired, it should be somebody at the top.”

Henry Bulbrook, 52, said: “I thought the letter was incredibly blaze. I’m sick at the moment so I’m on benefits. They have put a lot of people in peril.”

Another resident, Sandra, who didn’t want to give her full name, told the Gazette: “I have been made extremely vulnerable by this because I am elderly and I can’t get around well without a crutch. It’s obvious why I don’t want people to know my address.

“I know that only 11 people viewed the document, but it only takes one or two bad people for this to be devastating. Lovely Christmas present from Hackney Homes.”

A spokesman from the Information Commissioners’ Office confirmed that it is currently making enquiries into the incident.

Hackney Homes chief executive Charlotte Graves said: “Hackney Homes and the Council takes data protection very seriously and we’re very sorry that this has happened.

“As soon as we were made aware, we ensured the information was removed and wrote to those residents whose details were included. We have also taken immediate action to ensure it does not happen again.”

A spokesman for the council added that the data “was accessible to those with detailed IT knowledge who could potentially manipulate the spreadsheet to reveal the information” and not a “casual viewer of the document”.

In the light of the incident, the council have warned residents to be vigilant of telephone scammers and have said they have taken necessary steps to ensure it will not happen again

Latest Hackney Stories

13 minutes ago

The England midfielder discussed his recent extra responsibility in the Spurs side and talented youngster Oliver Skipp

The O’s boss discussed Garry Hill’s return to management and backed his predecessor Daryl McMahon to find work sooner rather than later

09:00

Essex Senior League: Hoddesdon Town 3 Clapton 0

12:17

As Americans everywhere prepare for a turkey feast with extra helpings of pumpkin pie, we’ve been out finding five of the best places for Thanksgiving this side of the Atlantic.

10:50

A 10-month-old Upper Clapton boy stuck in unsuitable temporary accommodation has the UK’s only known case of a new mitochondrial disease – and his family are desperate to track down other affected people.

Two advice lines are launching at the Crib – one set up by an ex-gang member to assure violent crime witnesses they aren’t “snitches”, and another for the bereaved by a mother whose son was murdered. Emma Bartholomew finds out more

Yesterday, 18:43

Three men were gunned down in what police feared could be a copycat shooting, inspired by a brutal gang warfare film which MPs had tried to ban.

Yesterday, 18:00

Optician director Jayesh Maru has seen his way to the ancient mountain-top Inca capital of Machu Picchu and has found his way back to east London.

PROMOTED CONTENT

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists