THE DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER has said there is little chance of the personal details of GAA members being put to malicious use, after it was revealed yesterday that copies of the association’s entire membership database had been sent to authorities on both sides of the border.
The theft of the details has become the subject of a criminal investigation in Northern Ireland, after a man was arrested yesterday in connection with the affair.
It is understood that the man was a former employee of Servasport, a Tyrone-based company which had been contracted by the GAA to run its database, and which also provides fixtures and results database systems to the association.
He has been released on police bail without charge.
Former GAA president Nickey Brennan, who remains the chairman of the association’s IT committee, told the Irish Times it was strange for the man to send the database to the data information commissioners on both sides of the border, and to the Gaelic Players Association.
The latter association had handed over the database to the GAA itself on November 19, which had since been liaising with the Republic’s Data Protection Commissioner since then.
One club secretary told the newspaper that the ‘hacker’ had done the association some service by exposing its security inadequacies, saying he was “absolutely livid” the data appeared not to have been encrypted.
The GAA has set up a helpline for members concerned about the leaking of their data; it can be found at 1890 987 807 in the Republic, or at 0800 0114787 in the North.
Servasport has issued a full apology to the GAA and to its members in respect of the leak.