G20 leaders data leak was ‘human error’

G20, President Barack Obama,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel
The White house says its investigating the G20 leaders data leak after Australia termed it a human error

The White House has said that its still looking into reports that personal Passport information of President Obama were accidentally leaked during last years G20 summit.

According to a report by ABC news website, white house officials say they will take measures to prevent any such breach in future.

It was not only president Obama who had his Passport information leaked. The passport numbers and visa details of 31 world leaders were accidentally emailed to the organisers of the Asian Cup in Australia before the G20 summit in Brisbane in November 2014.

Among those affected were President Obama and the German chancellor Angela Merkel who attedned the G20 summit.

A worker at the Australian Department of Immigration sent the list by mistake.

The department decided there was no need to alert the G20 attendees.

Both the sender of the email and the recipient had deleted it within 10 minutes of it being sent, the officer explained, and the Asian Cup football tournament organisers said they did not believe the email was accessible or stored on their servers.

The message included the 31 G20 leaders’ dates of birth but not personal addresses and other contact details.

The breach was said to be the result of “human error”, with the sender forgetting to check the auto-fill function in Microsoft Outlook’s email service before hitting send.

”’Personal details of several world leaders were accidentally shared by the Australian Immigration Department before the Brisbane summit.”

White House press secretary Eric Schultz said the reports were being investigated.

Currently, Australia does not have laws in place requiring the mandatory disclosure of data breaches, whether they are caused by government organisations or private companies.

While the new Data Retention Bill did not originally include any changes to this status quo, amendments brought in by the Federal Government (after opposition push back) will now see data breach laws introduced within the year.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said in a statement: “In accordance with the OAIC’s Regulatory Action Policy, the OAIC finalised inquiries noting the steps taken to contain the breach and that the department was putting in place measures to reduce the risks of a similar incident recurring.”