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Privacy International Plans Legal Action Against ACS:Law
September 27, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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Slyck first reported on Friday of a massive breach of security at the ACS:Law website. We witnessed, much to our astonishment, at least a partial exposure of the ACS:Law web server. Whoever administers their site appears to have made an amateur effort in its restoration. Unfortunately for Andrew Crossley and the rest of ACS:Law, the server was not configured to block public access to its structure. Worse, a backup file of the site dated August 24, 2010 was left on the web server.

That event allowed a flurry of personal information to leak onto the Internet. Information, namely excel spreadsheets with lists of individuals pursued by ACS:Law, containing names, addresses, titles allegedly shared (embarrassing) and IP addresses were left for the world to see. While the leak is a huge blow to ACS:Law and perhaps its employees, this is also a monumental privacy crisis for the accused as well.

In response, Privacy International is formulating legal action against ACS:Law. In a press release issued today, PI placed blames squarely on ACS:Law for the data breach – specifically for not ensuring safeguards were taken to ensure the privacy of the accused.

“…there is no evidence to suggest that the web server was compromised; it would seem that this data breach was purely down to poor server administration and a lack of suitable data protection and security technologies. there is no evidence to suggest that the web server was compromised; it would seem that this data breach was purely down to poor server administration and a lack of suitable data protection and security technologies.”

PI states they have already notified the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK. The ICO is a government organization that bills as “…the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.”

Privacy International is calling on ACS:Law and Andrew Crossley to make amends with this incident – chiefly by demanding they contact everyone whose information was leaked so safety measures can be taken to ensure the protection of their identities.

“We urge ACS:Law to contact each and every person who is mentioned throughout the email archive and disclose the breach to them so they might take appropriate steps to secure their bank accounts and credit cards.”

The ICO seems to take privacy matters very seriously, and was recently involved in a similar breach of data.

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