Queensland police leak hundreds of Australian email addresses in home quarantine trial

Hundreds of private email addresses were leaked by the state police service, forcing it to issue an apology for the “confusion and pain” they caused.

Hundreds of Australia-specific email addresses have been leaked by the Queensland Police Service after it sent out an invitation to participate in the state’s home quarantine trial, with one recipient calling the error a “mess”.

The email, which was sent on Saturday, failed to hide the recipients’ details. This resulted in the names and email addresses of 400 people being exposed, desperate to return to the country. It was called up about half an hour after it was sent.

The Queensland Police Service is trying to clear 8,310 backlogs of people trying to cross the border into the Sunshine state.

The QLD Premier and Chief Health Officer have announced a home quarantine trial, which will begin on 11 October 2021, for Queenslanders returning from a Covid-19 hotspot.

“poor shape”

A woman, who had submitted an original application for a Border Pass to enter Queensland, and who had her application canceled Trapped in ACT For three months, I received an email inviting her to participate in the experiment. Asking to remain anonymous for fear of jeopardizing her application, she told news.com.au it was “disturbing” and “bad” that police had leaked hundreds of private emails.

“Obviously their IT system is a joke – it’s fundamental that you put something in to hide emails,” she said.

The problem is that they made the mistake of passing requests across the border from the start. They were automatically invalidated – all those we applied for in August – and we had to reapply and couldn’t contact anyone about that. Now this has happened with email addresses so it’s just one mess after another.

“It’s coming from Queensland Police too – if there’s anything they should know better.”

When sending information to a large group of people who do not know each other, it is common practice to use a “Bcc” (Bcc) to avoid sharing everyone’s email address with each other.

The woman said it was also a matter of concern that as part of the trial, the Queensland Police were asking for a form to be filled out with personal details.

This included their cell phone numbers and she was concerned that these details could be “hacked” due to the invasion of privacy.

“It’s nice to finally get some proactive communication from them, but maybe not in this way,” she added.

“If someone answered everything, you probably wouldn’t be able to unsubscribe from the list – that would be impossible.”

human error

A Queensland Police Service (QPS) spokesperson said initial inquiries indicated that human error had triggered the error as recipient email addresses were included in the To field rather than the Bcc field.

They added that once the error was identified, the group email was recalled with the unread emails deleted.

“QPS acknowledges that before this happened, emails containing all recipients’ email addresses had been read by some in the group. This caused confusion and pain and the service apologizes unreservedly for it.”

“It is important to emphasize that only the details of the individual email address have been shared and no other personal information.”

A QPS spokesperson said he immediately contacted officers on the Queensland Border Passport Task Force to remind them of the importance of checking emails again and the high value and importance QPS places on maintaining the privacy of our stakeholders.

As part of the trial, Queenslanders will be allowed to quarantine in their designated place of residence for a period of 14 days, if their application is approved.

Not the first breach involving stranded Australians

But it’s not the first time that stranded Australian emails have been leaked.

In October last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was forced to “unintentionally” apologize Detect thousands of email addresses of Australians trying to return home from abroad.

The department apologized for the “disclosure of the email address of stranded Australians” but said it happened “unintentionally” and “no other personal information was disclosed”.

She was seeking to educate them about the financial hardship program, where they can apply for an interest-free loan of up to $2,500 to help support themselves while they are abroad or pay for a trip home.

At the time, one woman told ABC she felt “incredibly uncomfortable” as her details were shared with more than 1,000 other people.

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