Ontario city suffers massive privacy breach after employee sends email blast

The email information of hundreds of residents has been exposed

Ontario city suffers massive privacy breach after employee sends email blast


By Lyle Adriano

An employee with the City of Hamilton in Ontario mistakenly sent an email revealing the contact details of its 450 recipients, causing a potential privacy breach.

The city said that it “inadvertently” breached the privacy of some 450 people when an employee sent a mass update to residents registered to vote by mail in the upcoming municipal election on October 24. Said employee failed to use the “blind carbon copy” (BCC) function when sending the email, instead revealing the names of each of the 450 recipients under the “To” field.

Several residents raised their concerns on social media last Thursday night when they found their names and email addresses revealed to all due to the email error.

“Multiple email addresses were inadvertently entered in the to: line of the email instead of the bcc: line, exposing email addresses to all recipients of the email message,” a statement issued by the city on Friday read. “Immediate steps were taken to recall the message and to notify all affected individuals.”

“The City of Hamilton takes the responsibility of protecting the security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and will conduct a review of processes to ensure staff are trained in the protection of personal information.”

The city also gave assurances that it has notified the provincial information and privacy commissioner of the incident. The Hamilton Spectator reached out to the commissioner for a statement, which confirmed that it had logged two privacy complaints from citizens related to the incident last week

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