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Thread: Dealing with breaches of data safety

  1. #1

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    Angry Dealing with breaches of data safety

    Last night an email was sent out by the returning officer.

    The first 100 people to get this also received the email addresses of the other 100 people on the list.

    I have two questions.

    1) How would you prevent this from happening?

    2) If it were to occur again, how would you deal with it?

    Cheers

    Tony

  2. #2

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    I would like to apologise to all concerned as I have already done so on the Facebook group where this has been posted.

    This is way above my technical knowledge and I would not know how to prevent this happening again. All I can do is apologise on the returning Officer's behalf - human mistakes can and do happen and if there was anything I could do to help correct this then I would.

  3. #3

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    Lillian, you and the rest of the committee were not informed by the returning officer or the Chairperson. The fault on this occasion is not with the majority of the committee.

    How people would deal with it is a deal breaker.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    Last night an email was sent out by the returning officer.

    The first 100 people to get this also received the email addresses of the other 100 people on the list.

    I have two questions.

    1) How would you prevent this from happening?

    2) If it were to occur again, how would you deal with it?

    Cheers

    Tony
    Firstly I would like to say I am not making any comment about the incident of yesterday I don't know the circumstances by which that happened. It may be a matter for the new Committee when elected to look in to.

    To answer the 2 questions:

    1) I would expect GAGB to use a proper legally run external email mailing list provider which provides the means to avoid this. There are several such email mailing list providers available to use which wouldn't require a fee to use. They would also meet any rules and regulations on Data Protection and European anti-spam laws.

    I won't openly name any of the email mailing list providers as I don't wish to be accused of advertising.

    2) If we were to use a proper email mailing list provider as I suggest above I would not expect it to happen again. In six years of using such providers I have not known any email list I managed via such a system to be compromised.

  5. #5

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    You have not answered what you would do if it were to happen despite the provider?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    You have not answered what you would do if it were to happen despite the provider?
    For me to state the action I would expect to follow would depend on how the data leak happened. To speculate about future possibilities of Data being compromised could lead me to write a book on the subject the subject is quite complex.

    All data we collect should be used in accordance with the principles of data protection as set down in Data Protection Act 1998, regardless of our need to register or not under the Act.


    Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act lists the data protection principles in the following terms:

    1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless

      (a) at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and

      (b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.
    2. Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
    3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
    4. Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
    5. Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
    6. Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.
    7. Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
    8. Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

    Taken from http://www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/data_protection

  7. #7

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    So no a simple apology to start with..........

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    So no a simple apology to start with..........
    Yes of course that was so obviously required in my mind I didn't think to actually say I would say sorry.

    Then I would move to the investigation and take action from there .

    Paul

  9. #9

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    Sorry Paul just a little angry at the way the Chairperson has witheld information.

    I shouldn't have let you have that barrel
    Last edited by Mongoose39uk; 18th November 2013 at 07:55 PM. Reason: Appology

  10. #10

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    I'm only just catching up with all this, so my first apologies is for the delay in replying. Work does tend to get in the way somewhat.

    Secondly I'd like to add my apologies to all those affected by the email in question.

    In answer to the two questions:

    1) How would you prevent this from happening?
    Unfortunately its happened, I wish there were some way of making it un-happen, but there isn't.
    The protection of personal details, such as email addresses, is taken very seriously. Access is restricted, even within the GAGB committee (I've never seen the full details of the members, only the list that is available for all under the users list section of the website)

    I suppose having a returning officer that is completely devolved from the GAGB is both an asset to impartiality and now an issue. Perhaps having some system in place for the returning officer to use the existing GAGB mailing system can be set up.
    (these things are beyond me, and I dont know if that would impact on the impartiality of the system, but its got to be worth a look).

    2) If it were to occur again, how would you deal with it?
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we'd all deal with issues differently given time to access and reflect.
    In my work we have information security managers, they are the ones you go to if something goes wrong. I've never had to use them (thankfully) but they know what to do if it does.
    I can only recommend to the new committee that some sort of policy / procedure is put in place to report these issues to. Someone who knows alot more about data protection than I do.



    All I can do is apologise, I'm not entirely sure if I'm a current committee member or not, but I feel responsible for this lapse in our communication systems.

    I have failed Mike (by not anticipating his requirements to run the voting system), I have failed some of our longest GAGB members (by sending their emails out) and I have failed generally in maintaining confidence in the GAGB from you the members.


    What I can do is ask for your forgiveness and hope that you will be understanding, and believe that (regardless of who is voted into the new committee) improvements will be made to the voting process.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. - Samuel Beckett

  11. #11

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    As I have said in response to the post you started in the GAGB Facebook group, there was an unfortunate error last night when the emails were sent out and I have apologised several times.

    All the emails were having to be sent manually after LadyBugKids had problems sending a bulk email to all GAGB members from a hotel Internet in Germany (via his Alaskan domain) and he had to abort it.

    As part of the manual process, he inadvertently added the first 100 email addresses into the cc field rather than bcc field. He realised as soon as he pressed send, but was too late to stop them. All further emails were sent as bcc. He also emailed me to keep me informed and to apologise for this error and replied to those people that contacted him directly last night.

    By the time he had finished sending all the emails it was nearly 2am (his time) and we (Mike & I) decided that we wouldn't send out a bulk follow up apology email at that time, but that he would initially respond to any specific emails personally.

    Mike is in Europe on business this week so has limited time (mainly late evenings) when he has access to his laptop so may not have responded to emails that have arrived today.

    I have also been at work all day and only became aware of the facebook conversation after I finished this evening. I have since given a detailed description of events to the committee to keep them informed.

    It is an unfortunate incident in what otherwise has been an excellent service from LadyBug Kids for the third consecutive year as Returning Officer.

    I am sure Mike will reply to this thread once he has checked in at his hotel this evening.
    GAGB member since 2005
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackieC View Post
    I'm only just catching up with all this, so my first apologies is for the delay in replying. Work does tend to get in the way somewhat.

    Secondly I'd like to add my apologies to all those affected by the email in question.

    In answer to the two questions:

    1) How would you prevent this from happening?
    Unfortunately its happened, I wish there were some way of making it un-happen, but there isn't.
    The protection of personal details, such as email addresses, is taken very seriously. Access is restricted, even within the GAGB committee (I've never seen the full details of the members, only the list that is available for all under the users list section of the website)

    I suppose having a returning officer that is completely devolved from the GAGB is both an asset to impartiality and now an issue. Perhaps having some system in place for the returning officer to use the existing GAGB mailing system can be set up.
    (these things are beyond me, and I dont know if that would impact on the impartiality of the system, but its got to be worth a look).

    2) If it were to occur again, how would you deal with it?
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we'd all deal with issues differently given time to access and reflect.
    In my work we have information security managers, they are the ones you go to if something goes wrong. I've never had to use them (thankfully) but they know what to do if it does.
    I can only recommend to the new committee that some sort of policy / procedure is put in place to report these issues to. Someone who knows alot more about data protection than I do.



    All I can do is apologise, I'm not entirely sure if I'm a current committee member or not, but I feel responsible for this lapse in our communication systems.

    I have failed Mike (by not anticipating his requirements to run the voting system), I have failed some of our longest GAGB members (by sending their emails out) and I have failed generally in maintaining confidence in the GAGB from you the members.


    What I can do is ask for your forgiveness and hope that you will be understanding, and believe that (regardless of who is voted into the new committee) improvements will be made to the voting process.
    You cannot be held responsible when the information is withheld from you. You have not failed.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maple Leaf View Post
    As I have said in response to the post you started in the GAGB Facebook group, there was an unfortunate error last night when the emails were sent out and I have apologised several times.

    All the emails were having to be sent manually after LadyBugKids had problems sending a bulk email to all GAGB members from a hotel Internet in Germany (via his Alaskan domain) and he had to abort it.

    As part of the manual process, he inadvertently added the first 100 email addresses into the cc field rather than bcc field. He realised as soon as he pressed send, but was too late to stop them. All further emails were sent as bcc. He also emailed me to keep me informed and to apologise for this error and replied to those people that contacted him directly last night.

    By the time he had finished sending all the emails it was nearly 2am (his time) and we (Mike & I) decided that we wouldn't send out a bulk follow up apology email at that time, but that he would initially respond to any specific emails personally.

    Mike is in Europe on business this week so has limited time (mainly late evenings) when he has access to his laptop so may not have responded to emails that have arrived today.

    I have also been at work all day and only became aware of the facebook conversation after I finished this evening. I have since given a detailed description of events to the committee to keep them informed.

    It is an unfortunate incident in what otherwise has been an excellent service from LadyBug Kids for the third consecutive year as Returning Officer.

    I am sure Mike will reply to this thread once he has checked in at his hotel this evening.

    My issue is not so much that the error occurred though I am angry about that. I am livid that it was basically ignored unless someone noticed it. It was not even mentioned to the rest of the committee until the poo hit the fan! Has anyone even contacted the others on the list. If you haven't got it have you asked for a copy. You know several people who have a full copy. I could always email them but you may not be happy with what I have to say!

  14. #14

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    Default Mike Malvick/Ladybug Kids Public Apology for E-mail List Breech

    Last night, whilst sending out an e-mail roll-out for the upcoming Committee election, I inadvertently sent one note out with 100 GAGB members' e-mail addresses exposed on the distribution list. The reason the e-mail addresses were exposed was that I failed to paste the addresses onto the blind carbon copy (bcc) line of the e-mail. I manually compiled the e-mails because the properly configured batch e-mail I attempted to send would not go out via my hotel internet in Ingolstadt, Germany. I was eager to get the word out on behalf of GAGB before the Q&A period closed and lacked time to troubleshoot the problem with my internet service provider (ISP).

    As past Webmaster and Secretary (and now, returning Secretary) for GeocacheAlaska!, Alaska's incorporated not-for-profit geocaching organization, I full understand and appreciate the need to maintain member record confidentiality. I personally have written into all GeocacheAlaska! procedures that discuss communicating with our membership, "compile distribution lists using the bcc line."

    I failed to follow my own process, and for that, I apologize to the GAGB Committee and all GAGB members, especially those whose e-mail addresses I accidentally exposed.

    As soon as I realized my error (which was about a millisecond after I hit "send"), I contacted Jen/Maple Leaf, to notify her because I recognized the significance of the exposed distribution list. At that point, the bell had been rung and there was no going back.

    The membership may rest assured that subsequent e-mails during this election period will maintain the confidentiality of their e-mail address. The ballots will be e-mailed by Surveymonkey.com on my behalf and there is no chance e-mails will be exposed.

    Again, I apologize to the GAGB Committee and to the GAGB membership for my error. It was my error and mine alone and I own it.

    I sincerely hope my mistake does not detract from the vibrant and exciting election GAGB has in the works. It's wonderful to see so many people step forward with a willingness to up their geocaching game in other significant ways.

    Apologetically,

    Michael Malvick
    GAGB Returning Officer
    Last edited by LadybugKids; 18th November 2013 at 10:58 PM.
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  15. #15

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    APART from this apology on here has any attempt been made to contact the individuals affected or are they still not regarded as worthy of your attention?

    These responses are not related to the questions for potential candidates and should be removed or moved to an appropriate thread.

    My questions here were for potential committee members to see how they would have dealt with it.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maple Leaf View Post
    snip

    By the time he had finished sending all the emails it was nearly 2am (his time) and we (Mike & I) decided that we wouldn't send out a bulk follow up apology email at that time, but that he would initially respond to any specific emails personally.

    snip
    When is this bulk email apology going to happen?

    The apology so far is still only to those who have noticed.

    Instead of quickly defusing the situation it appears to be being made worse.

    I will assume this is going to be done?

    Or do those of us who have noticed have to email them (we have a nice handy list).

  17. #17

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    The returning officer made a genuine mistake. He has apologised, there is nothing more he can do.

    I am still dumbfounded that the chair decided that the right thing to do was to ignore the problem and hope it would go away. The time argument simply doesn't wash. If you are prepared to send one bulk email at an unsociable hour, then why not a second?

    I am further dumbfounded that once she realised that it wasn't going away she did not have the common decency to contact all those affected. I think the reaction on Facebook last night was clear and yet the GAGB STILL has not done so.

  18. #18

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    This unfortunate issue is being discussed with the committee.

    An update will be posted later today once all members have contributed and we have a decision on the way to proceed.
    GAGB member since 2005
    GAGB Committee member 2010 to 2016 (Chair 2012 to 2015)
    UK Mega Event Chairman 2009 (Weston-super-Mare)


  19. #19

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    A further delay.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maple Leaf View Post
    This unfortunate issue is being discussed with the committee.

    An update will be posted later today once all members have contributed and we have a decision on the way to proceed.
    Whilst the current Committee has to take some action on this matter I hope that the incoming Committee who ever they might be is given the chance to put in place the permanent fix for this.

    With less than two week left of the current Committee it would be bad to rush a fix and get something that doesn't really fix anything.

    Paul

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    Taken some time out to consider the original question and I'm not sure I am clear in my head of what my response is now.

    It is clear that the incident was unintentional and accidental. What has happened since is poor.
    The timing of it is really unfortunate in it clashing with this process.
    I would hate to think that a candidate/candidates score points on the back of it.

    I feel really bad for Mike. Technically I don't have the knowledge to suggest what can be done differently in the future, though I am sure there are means that would rule out human error. My thoughts on what should have happened since will remain with me. I am certainly not going to add to a public hanging.

    I would expect the whole issue to be at the top end of the agenda for the first meeting of the new committee with a considered piece of communication coming soon after.

    I hope that all the dissatisfied parties get an acceptable resolution quickly.

  22. #22

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    Seeing as this isn't going to be moved..........

    I really don't want to hang Mike. He was acting on behalf of the GAGB and made a genuine mistake. I am angry about it but accept totally that it was an error. It happens.

    What really gets my goat is:

    1) not letting the rest of the committee know in case someone notices and get upset.

    2) Deciding to only action to people who notice.


    So the second part for me is if or when you get on the committee. What would your (suggested) potential action plan be in case of an error?

    Not many getting a vote of me so far. Sidestepping is not answering the question

    I really really did not want to get involved in this election apart from to read the answers to other peoples questions.

    Straight answers even if I don't agree on them get my respect.

  23. #23

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    ok...

    i) Acknowledge the error.
    ii) Put the error right.
    iii) Stop the error happening again.

    Timescale wise, point i) happens as soon as error is noted with an indication of when point ii) will be forthcoming, which in this case could/should have been straight away. Point iii) as soon as an extraordinary meeting can be pulled together, with open communication to the rest of the membership soon after.

    In this situation, I would not have been aware of anything until I saw it on facebook, as most of the current committee were not. I would have been on at the chair to pull things together sharpish.

  24. #24

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    I don't know that much about email lists, but would be happy to be involved in some research to look at options such as mailchimp or the other things that exist.

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    Adam that's a commercial account?

    What would you do if there was brach of data security?

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    Adam that's a commercial account?

    What would you do if there was breach of data security?
    I would make sure that we changed provider! and that we make sure that the entity that was at fault was dealt with by whatever the appropriate means would be

  27. #27

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    I was one of the members who had their email address leaked. I saw what had happened, I realised it was a mistake, I left it at that.
    Mistakes happen, it is all to easy to press the wrong button and while I hope it will not happen again it is not really a big deal if it does.
    I would have thought most people were sensible enough to use separate email accounts for different purposes, I have one just for geocaching. This makes it much easier to sort out a problem should one arise.

  28. #28

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    Yes I have separate email addresses. This one was one I share a little but not much and only by my choosing. I have had it quite a number of years and it has a very low spam count. I hope it stays that way.

    As for mistake yes it was but a 2 minute job to send an apology at the time.....



    However my question remains when/ if it happens again... how is it potentially managed.

  29. #29

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    I have been thinking about this. While it won't do anything for those that had their addresses shared, all forum software has a method to mass email from the forum.

    Assuming that all members of GAGB (and I know that might not be everyone) are members of the forum too, why not make use of the forum software for the non-survey monkey type emails?

    It will handle all the emailing without revealing any email addresses and in most software there's also an option for distribution via membership groups.

    Might be worth looking at.

    You might also look at what the existing hosting provider offers. They often have something similar to mail-chimp preinstalled for mailing lists.

    Collin

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post

    However my question remains when/ if it happens again... how is it potentially managed.

    We will learn from our mistakes.

    I am not techie, I don't know what to do or how to do it - honest answer.

    However this should be the first item on the next agenda for the elected Committee - whoever they may be.

    Errors are made and apologies given and should be accepted. The lesson, as it were, has been learned.
    If anyone has suggestions as to the best way forward I am sure the elected Committee will be happy to listen to any recommendations - techie to techie

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornell Finch View Post
    .... snipped

    Assuming that all members of GAGB (and I know that might not be everyone) are members of the forum too, why not make use of the forum software for the non-survey monkey type emails?

    It will handle all the emailing without revealing any email addresses and in most software there's also an option for distribution via membership groups.

    Might be worth looking at.

    ... snipped

    Collin
    Cass does use the built in forum software for sending out the Seeker magazine emails. Although in the past there was one time she was having problems with it and also had to resort to the manual task of batch emailing everyone - a very time consuming job which I recall took many hours.

    To be fair, I don't know if we could have used it for the emails that were sent out on Sunday as we would have had to exclude members since the cut off date (1st Oct).

    However, we just followed the procedure that has been used by the Returning Officer in past years to keep the members informed (which has worked well) but unfortunately on Sunday various circumstances meant he also resorted to a manual process when his bulk process failed (possibly due to him being in a hotel half way around the world from his home domain) and that is when the incident happened.
    GAGB member since 2005
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  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    Adam that's a commercial account?

    What would you do if there was brach of data security?
    First I would like to state that neither my company nor me personally financially gain from this recommendation.

    If you use MailChimp there is a free option and I use them for various email mailing list purposes.

    There is a free option that allows you up to 2,000 users to be sent up to 12,000 messages a month in total.

    Used properly it actually ticks all the boxes of Data Protection and the European anti-spam regulations.

    They are also registered with the UK's Information Commissioner so if they break the laws on how our data should be processed we can go to the Information Commissioner with a complaint and ask the Information Commissioner investigates.

    Paul
    Last edited by Poole_Man; 19th November 2013 at 11:35 PM. Reason: Corrected incorrect info

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    When is this bulk email apology going to happen?

    The apology so far is still only to those who have noticed.
    I considered sending an apology to all those affected immediately after I noticed my mistake, but opted not to because doing so would only bring the mistake back to the top of people's inboxes, perhaps pique curiousity, and potentially lead to someone actually leveraging the exposed e-mails for some other purpose.

    It was a balancing act...a) try to let it go quietly and apologize publically to the entire GAGB organization in here and respond privately to those who inquired about what happened OR b) hit the same 100 inboxes, about 96% of which didn't react to the first e-mail, and get those 96% re-interested in the content of the header of the original e-mail which may have otherwise stayed buried in a deleted items folder or slowly disappeared off the first screen of the inbox.

    In my opinion, in terms of damage control for those whose e-mails where exposed, the former was the best case and the latter was the worst case.

    The matter was further complicated by the issue being taken public via social media and these forums, which meant there was no longer a way to control the number of people who know there is a partial group of e-mails running around out there and also meant that more people were informed they received a bunch of extra e-mail addresses. The folks who publically expressed umbrage over the incident without first contacting the perpetrator (me) actually exacerbated things significantly, whether they intended to or not. A note to the Committee and/or to me asking "hey, what's up with that?" would have been very effective and a few people did take that route.

    Another member has constructively stepped forward with a possible solution to avoid a similar reoccurence. By coincidence, the solution is one GeocacheAlaska! is about to take for a trial run. Post election, the new GAGB Committee and I will debrief this year's process in the spirit of continuous improvement and make enhancements to next year's process.
    Last edited by LadybugKids; 20th November 2013 at 09:14 PM.
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  34. #34

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    It was a considerable time in which you had the opportunity to rectify and you chose to hide it. I had dropped this issue and moved on. I will now reconsider my position

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    Yes a few people did take the route of asking you and then went on Facebook when they realised it was being brushed under the carpet and the others affected were not being informed

  36. #36

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    Sadly, with some, you'll be damned if you do and damned of you don't.

    Yes, a human error was made, an apology and explanation has been made, suggestions as to how to avoid in future have been taken on board, and really I feel that should be the end of it.

    Let's get things moving back to asking the candidates how they might represent us ...

    Thank you LadyBugKids for running the election process.

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose39uk View Post
    Yes a few people did take the route of asking you and then went on Facebook when they realised it was being brushed under the carpet and the others affected were not being informed
    I can see your perspective and I explained my reasons for my perspective. I feel badly about the incident and know there is nothing I can do to "undo" what happened. What I will do is work with The Committee to make certain it never happens again.

    In America, telling someone they are brushing something under the carpet implies an intent to deceive. I can assure you and all members of GAGB that there was never any desire to be dishonest. Different people will have different opions about the judgement that was excercised and the decisions made, but I think it is a real stretch to accuse anyone to being anything less than honest (and perhaps that's not happening here due to cultural differences). All communications I have been privy too have included nothing but the facts. The members of The Committee I have had the pleasure of working with are hard-working volunteers with fully honorable intentions.

    I knew I made a mistake, informed Maple Leaf as soon as I was aware of the fact, and posted a public apology in this thread at my next opportunity. I am not in Europe on a lark. I am here on business, working long days with limited access to the Internet, daily switching locations, and cutting sleep short while squeezing in my volunteer efforts with multiple organizations where I can with GAGB's election currently having top priority. The instantaneous communications that people are accustomed to due to 24/7 connectivity are physically impossible for me during this trip as I in business meetings with my phone switched off or visiting industrial facilities that require me to leave my phone in my car. Short of diverting to the UK on my way home next week to publically face people, I am unsure of what more I can do other than come up with a solution to prevent a future reoccurance.

    I've walked in the shoes of those whose e-mails I inadvertently exposed and fully understand the anger and disappointment. I can't undo what was done and have apologized for it. Can you walk in mine?
    Last edited by LadybugKids; 21st November 2013 at 05:02 AM.
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  38. #38

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    I can, I understand it was an accident.

    Time to move on I think.

    The questions I posted are genuine. I do want to know how potential committee members think a future incident should be dealt with.

  39. #39

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    Sep 2012
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    Personally I would apologise immediately sending an email to everyone involved, I do not like certain email addresses of mine given out to every tom and harry however I do have my caching email on view on my profile.

    I think this is something to be discussed on the first committee meeting to ensure that this never happens again.

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