Northern Ireland police officers' data published online in 'monumental' breach

Northern Ireland police officers' data published online in 'monumental' breach

'I’m deeply concerned by the data breach involving the PSNI,' says Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI) has apologized over the data breach which made available information of officers online for a while.

The data breach, a result of "human error" occurred when the PSNI responded to a Freedom of Information request, which mistakenly released a spreadsheet that included surnames, initials, ranks or grades, location and the departments of all current Police Service of Northern Ireland officers and civilian staff members.

"An initial notification has been made to the office of the Information Commissioner regarding the data breach," PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said in a statement late Tuesday.

Earlier, he said that the data which they believe was uploaded Tuesday afternoon, was available to the public between two-and-a-half to three hours.

"I've had to inform the Information Commissioner's office of a significant data breach that we're responsible for ... This is unacceptable," said Todd, adding that the incident happened as a result of "human error."

Meanwhile, Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI), described the breach as "monumental".

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said that he has never experienced something like this in his 29 years of service.

"Our officers go to great lengths to protect their identities. Some of them don’t even tell their close friends and associates that they are actually in the police," added Kelly.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris also expressed concerns over the data breach.

"I’m deeply concerned by the data breach involving the PSNI. My officials are in close contact with senior officers and are keeping me updated," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.​​​​​​​

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