Irish justice department confirms data breach

News 30 May, 2012

The Department of Justice issues apology to job applicants for accidentally disclosing their data.

Ireland’s Department of Justice (DOJ) could find itself at the centre of a data breach probe after personal details belonging to a number of job applicants were accidentally disclosed.

According to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, nine people who inquired about a job within the RUC George Cross Foundation had their details erroneously passed on to another applicant.

I apologise for the annoyance and distress caused.

Human error has been cited as the cause of the breach after a document containing the details was incorrectly attached to an email by a member of staff and sent out to the applicant.

The DOJ has issued a written apology to those affected and notified the Information Commissioner about the breach.

“I am obliged to inform you, under the Data Protection Act 1998, that information concerning your recent interest in the post of Trustee of the RUC GC Foundation was sent in error by electronic mail, to another applicant,” stated the letter.

“Your name and the names of some other persons who expressed an interest in the competition, was mistakenly included. I apologise for the annoyance and distress caused.”

However, in a further statement to the Belfast Telegraph, a DOJ spokesperson played down the severity of the breach, insisting that only the names of the other applicants had been disclosed.

“The breach concerned an attachment in an email which listed the names of nine individuals interested in a public appointment competition but did not include contact details, addresses or other identifying information.

“The incident was a result of human error and officials have been reminded of the procedures regarding data handling,” the statement concluded.

At the time of writing, IT Pro was awaiting a response from the Information Commissioner about the breach.