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Immigration officer accidentally leaked world leaders' passport numbers

An email with the details was inadvertently sent to the wrong person by an Australian immigration department worker.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott and United States' President Barack Obama meet Jimbelung the koala ahead of the G20 summit last year.
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott and United States' President Barack Obama meet Jimbelung the koala ahead of the G20 summit last year.
Image: G20 Australia via Flickr

THE AUSTRALIAN IMMIGRATION department accidentally disclosed personal details of 31 world leaders at the last G20 summit, it has emerged.

According to an email obtained by The Guardian, an employee inadvertently sent passport numbers, visa details and other identifiers of leaders like Barack Obama, Vladamir Putin, Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping, to organisers of the Asian Cup football tournament.

The email was from the director of Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the privacy commissioner, informing the office of the breach.

The employee had failed to check that the autofill function in Microsoft Outlook had entered the correct person’s details into the ‘To’ field. The person who received the email deleted it and the director of the visa services in the immigration bureau said it was “unlikely that the information is in the public domain.

Interestingly, the immigration officer recommended that the world leaders not be made aware of the breach but it is not clear whether they were subsequently notified.

Read: Alan Shatter loses appeal against Mick Wallace data breach decision>

Read: There were 24 data breaches in Joan Burton’s department this year>

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