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Tesco 'apologises unreservedly' after customer in self-isolation has details leaked on WhatsApp

The Data Protection Commissioner will now investigate the alleged breach.

Image: Shutterstock/James W Copeland

SUPERMARKET RETAILER TESCO has issued an apology to a customer in Ireland after details of a home shopping order that referenced the fact the customer was in self-isolation were leaked on WhatsApp groups.

When ordering online, there is an option to relay information that will aid in the delivery.

Here, the customer asked if the delivery could be left at their door and for the delivery person to knock on the door.

The person said they were in self-isolation before leaving a contact number. Images being shared on WhatsApp also contain the name and address of the person in question. 

There is nothing whatsoever to suggest that this person has Covid-19. Six cases have been diagnosed so far in the Republic of Ireland – a male pupil at a Dublin school, a female in the east of the country and four people in the west of the country believed to be in the same family. Three cases have been diagnosed in Northern Ireland to date. 

Health authorities have advised people to self-isolate as a precaution for a period of 14-days if they have returned from one of the affected areas of northern Italy, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore or South Korea.

People are also being urged to self-isolate if they develop symptoms of coronavirus, although the risk of contracting the virus in Ireland remains low.

Tesco has informed the Data Protection Commissioner about the data breach and has initiated its own investigation into the incident.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for the supermarket said: “Tesco is aware of an alleged breach of customer data involving our Grocery Home Shopping business.

“We take our GDPR obligations extremely seriously and immediately instigated an investigation which is ongoing.”

The spokesperson said Tesco had been in contact with the customer and “apologised unreservedly”. 

The spokesperson added: “We would like to reiterate that we are taking all appropriate actions and we have reported this incident to the Data Protection Commissioner. We are also taking steps to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.”

Deputy commissioner and head of communications at the Data Protection Commission Graham Doyle confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the watchdog has been informed of the case by Tesco and is currently examining it. 

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Sean Murray

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