The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) faces a hefty £750,000 fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after mistakenly publishing a spreadsheet online containing the personal details of its entire workforce, Bleepingcomputer reports.

PSNI disclosed the incident on August 8, 2023, when the police force warned that a mistake occurred during a response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) Request, exposing the following data about 9,483 active officers and staff:

  • Surnames
  • Initials
  • Ranks
  • Roles
  • Locations

According to the ICO’s assessment, the incident put exposed individuals at grave physical risk, resulted from poor data security from PSNI, and was deemed entirely preventable.

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“We have announced we intend to fine the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) £750,000 for failing to protect the personal information of its entire workforce.” reads the announcement.

“The proposed fine relates to an incident where personal information – including surname, initials, rank, and role of all 9,483 serving PSNI officers and staff – was included in a “hidden” tab of a spreadsheet published online in response to a freedom of information request.”

“Our investigation has provisionally found the PSNI’s internal procedures and sign-off protocols for the safe disclosure of information were inadequate.”

ICO’s investigation into the incident revealed that many were forced to move to new physical addresses, cut off communication and relations with family members to protect them from potential harm, and completely alter their daily routines.

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