The British Ministry of Defense has been embarrassed by a data breach involving the private data of Afghan translators. The email addresses of about 250 people planning to come to the UK appeared in a mass email, BBC reports.
The ministry sent the mail to Afghans who had served with the British armed forces and were still in Afghanistan or other countries. The recipients’ email addresses and profile pictures were visible to anyone who received the message.
One recipient was shocked by the BBC’s fatal error. This error could cost the interpreters their lives. Especially if they are still in Afghanistan.” Also, some of the interpreters did not immediately realize that something was wrong.” They emailed everyone to explain the situation they are in. This is very dangerous.”
The ministry would have quickly realized that an error had occurred and sent an email warning half an hour later. The interpreters were asked to delete the first email and the message: “Your email address may not be secure.”
The leak sparked angry reactions in British politics. MP Johnny Mercer of the ruling Conservative Party described the way translators are treated as “incredibly shameful”. He concluded that many people would “look for a new place to live again tonight”.
Opposition Labor Party John Healy said the data breach “unnecessarily put people’s lives at risk”. He called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to do more to move the interpreters left behind to the UK.
The Ministry of Defense went into dust due to the error. “We apologize to everyone affected by this leak,” a spokeswoman said. “We are committed to ensuring that nothing like this happens again.”
Western countries withdrew their troops from Afghanistan this year after two decades. The extremist Taliban movement seized power last month. In addition to the United Kingdom, other European countries and the United States have evacuated civilians and former local employees on a large scale.
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