Havering Council has accidently leaked more than 2,000 email addresses

Havering Town Hall

Havering Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The council has breached the Data Protection Act and is in contact with the information commissioner.

More than 2,000 residents’ email addresses have been accidently leaked by Havering Council.

The email was advertising a recruitment event and was sent to a mailing list of 2,248 people from the homes and housing office on Tuesday.

The council tried to recall the message, but instead it was sent out four more times.

Every recipient was able to view the email addresses which constitutes a breach of the Data Protection Act.

The council are in contact with the information commissioner and an internal investigation will be carried out.

A person whose address was leaked and who did not want to be named spoke to the Recorder.

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He said: “I am rather disturbed that my email has been circulated to more than 2,000 people without my permission.

“There is a possibility it could get given to marketing organisations and we could get all sorts of spam emails.”

Cllr Ray Morgon (Lab, Hacton) said: “A breach of the data protection act is a very serious issue and one that I will ask questions about how it has occurred to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Lawrence Webb (UKIP, Gooshays) said he was concerned over what the recipients could do with the information.

He said: “If it includes private residents emails that is a bigger concern.

“It can cause people problems when you do not know who has received this information and what they will do with it.”

This leak breaches principle seven of the act, which says “appropriate technical and organisational measures” must be taken against “accidental loss of data.”

Dr Ian Walden, professor of information and communications law at Queen Mary University explained: “The severity of the breach depends on the sensitivity of the information disclosed.

“This appears to be a relatively minor breach, but shows poor practice and a lack of regard for people’s privacy.”

Havering Council’s head of housing, Neil Stubbings, said: “This was a mistake and we are sorry to everyone included on the list.

“We have taken advice from the information commissioner office and we will be carrying out an internal investigation. No other personal details were included in the email.”

Has you email been leaked? Get in touch with Ralph Blackburn on 0208 477 3825 or email ralph.blackburn@archant.co.uk.