The Income Tax Division of Treasury has apologised for an operational error which resulted in groups of its customers being able to see each other’s e-mail addresses. It is emphasising, however, that no personal income tax information has been disclosed.
The Division reacted quickly and has contacted all the customers involved. The Data Protection Supervisor was notified immediately and the Division has requested the Government’s Information Security Officer launch an investigation to make sure that this type of incident does not reoccur.
The mistake happened when, as part of a programme to raise awareness of its new Twitter account, the Income Tax Division sent out ten batches of e-mails, of up to 500 in each batch, but in such a manner that recipients could see all the e-mail addresses in their individual batch.
In its message to customers, the Division said:
‘You will have received an email today that regrettably contained the email addresses of other people.
‘The Income Tax Division regards your information as sensitive and confidential, and apologises unreservedly for this unacceptable lapse, which was a genuine mistake by a member of staff.
‘We can confirm that this mistake is in no way related to any of Government’s core online systems and that no information was released other than the email addresses.
‘The Division has initiated an internal investigation to see how this occurred and what steps are needed to ensure it doesn't happen again.
‘Please accept our sincere apologies.’