Monday, 01 October 2018 05:25

Aussie firm red-faced after UK Tory conference app leaks Featured

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Aussie firm red-faced after UK Tory conference app leaks Pixabay

Australian tech firm Crowdcomms has confessed that an app it built for the British Conservative Party allowed access to profiles of politicians attending the party's annual conference in Birmingham.

The official conference app allowed users to access another individual's details if that person's email address was known.

Under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, the Tories could be fined as much as £2 million (A$3.6 million) for the leak.

One user, who accessed the account of Michael Gove, changed the profile picture to one of media baron Rupert Murdoch, whom Gove worked for in the past.

In its statement, Crowdcomms, which has a presence in the UK, Ireland and Singapore as well, said: "An error meant that a third party in possession of a conference attendee’s email address was able, without further authentication, to potentially see data which the attendee had not wished to share – name, email address, phone number, job title and photo.

"The error was rectified within 30 minutes. It is likely that it affected a very small proportion of attendees and we are working with the Conservative Party to ensure any potentially affected attendees are notified.

"We will also be reporting this to the ICO [Information Commissioner's Office] and reviewing and amending our Data Policies. We apologise unreservedly to the Conservative Party and their attendees."

The ICO said in a statement: "We are aware of an incident involving a Conservative Party conference app and we will be making inquiries with the Conservative Party.

“Organisations have a legal duty to keep personal data safe and secure. Under the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] they must notify the ICO within 72 hours of becoming aware of a personal data breach, if it could pose a risk to people’s rights and freedoms.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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