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back to article West Yorkshire Gay Police Association in email list leak FAIL

The Information Commissioner's Office is looking into an alleged breach of the Data Protection Act after the West Yorkshire branch of the Gay Police Association (WYGPA) mistakenly leaked names and email addresses to around 100 people signed up to an LGBT mailing list. The Register was first alerted to the email gaffe by an eagle …

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more gay police please

as less of the little hitler ones with ego issues.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

Yes, because all gay people are into soft furnishings and handbags and erasure and like to sit down and really listen to peoples problems.

You are using a well defunct stereotype.

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Silver badge

Re: more gay police please

At least it's a nice stereotype, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

Really? I don't think so, in fact I know a lot of gay men and women who are seriously offended by that sort of stereotype.

A stereotype is a stereotype is a stereotype. No iffs, no buts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

Maybe you'd prefer asdf 's stereotype, in a post he quicky withdraw, equating homosexuality and pedophilia.

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WTF?

Re: more gay police please

So they're offended. Perhaps the phrase "man up" might be misinterpreted?

My point was - effeminacy and Erasure are much more friendly images than the usual jackbooted thug in a copper's uniform. And maybe all those gay people you know might want to be a bit less stereotypically sensitive about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

Oh, hark at HER! *

* Deliberate use of 'mincing queen' stereotype ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

@Dogged

My point that a stereotype is a stereotype is a stereotype still stands.

It's wrong, you know it and you're just trying to make out that the problem is with the people who are having the stereotype thrust upon them, rather than yourself, the person using the stereotype.

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Trollface

Re: more gay police please

But whining about a stereotype is just soooo stereotypical.

Cue spiralling responses culminating in a negative reality inversion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more gay police please

No ifs, but surely some butts?

And given your sentence include "a lot of gay men and women who..." it sounds like you are also grouping a lot of them together.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Trollface

Re: more gay police please

rather than yourself, the person using the stereotype

except that I didn't use it.

Thank you for playing, though. You might also want to give Alan Carr and Graham Norton a call, as I believe they might have missed your memo.

As an aside:

I don't have much sympathy for people being offended, to be honest. Stephen Fry covered that one pretty well. Neither do I think there is anything necessarily effeminate or camp about gay people. Why so many low-rate trash-class entertainers and talk show hosts feel the need to bring back the spirit of 70's "safe" gays is beyond me. I thought all that was over when Peter Tatchell ceremonially handbagged an effigy of Larry Grayson to death in 1991.

On the other hand, harmless camp coppers would be a big improvement on the surveillance obsessed, bought-and-sold by press, government and private interests collection of testosterone-fuelled gun-nuts we seem to have at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

'ello 'ello 'ello. Ooooh, Hello!

- Actually, yes, more gay police please, and if they want to get married that's just fine with me, I don't see it as bringing down society, whatever the pope thinks.

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Coat

The police force could learn a thing or two from their Amsterdam counterparts, crime rates would go down and rates of sex would go up...

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'exshellent' :)

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Coat

Re: rates of sex

No more price increases please!

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FAIL

Wembley Police (Met) have made the same mistake

I'm on the local community list with Wembley police and they've REPEATEDLY made the same mistake.

They've sent numerous emails with all email addresses shoved into the `to' field. The first time I complained to them, they couldn't give a crap. The next time they did it, I sternly told them I was going to complain to the ICO. This made them buck up their ideas, so that now they throw all the email addresses into the BCC field, with no recipient at all in the `to' field. Often they send without a subject line as well.

This is because of 3 things:

1. The Met have not insisted that email lists are run using a proper email list manager with confidentiality and unsubscribe built in.

2. There is no formal training or policy for how emails should be handled

3. Officers are left unsupervised with access to the email system and email addresses kept as clear text in text files, ready to be copied and pasted in.

The whole thing is a joke.

One email I received from Wembley Police, which shared my email address with around 100 other recipients, was trying to encourage me to sign up to a London-wide community email list. If they couldn't keep my email address private with 100 other people in my borough, how on earth could I trust them with a list that spanned the whole of London?

"Those emailed were not members of the WYGPA, and had provided their email addresses when attending a public event and indicated they wanted to be contacted with information and news, such as the contents of this email.

No confidential information was disclosed and no other details other than the email addresses of those individuals are held by us, and these email addresses are retained solely by the WYGPA."

This smacks of total arrogance by the police, same as here in Wembley. They believe that because you gave them your email address, you don't mind it being shared with others.

I hope they don't run an email list of snitches - could be very serious.

Unbelievable that the police, including the Met, think that the Data Protection Act doesn't apply to them.

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Re: Wembley Police (Met) have made the same mistake

They're the police, since when did the law ever apply to them?

(Regardless of official lines spouted by the head honcho)

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Re: Wembley Police (Met) have made the same mistake

They're the police, since when did learning to use computers apply to them?

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Holmes

No surprise...

Those who sent out that email are as clueless as those who wrote the response. Might be the same person(s).

What made me really laugh: "... before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken ..."

"if any"? Really? How about, umm, teaching your staff on how email works, what data protection means, how they DID disclose confidential and sensitive data, that they HAVE to inform the ICO, and why the data they handle is especially sensitive...? Just for starters?

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Tip of the Iceberg

This may well cause repercussions.

The police never got with the Data Protection program. There is no leadership on this issue from the top on down.

A quick check of the Data Protection Register indicates no registration for Met Police, London Police Commissioner, or Wembley Police.

There is a registration for the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. I don't know whether this covers all the activities of the entire W Yorks Police or just the Chief Constable. They still have more than the Met though.

Only some unfavorable press attention, or some questions in Parliament, will force the police to follow the same rules we do wrt Data Protection.

Incidentally, I didn't just complain to my local cop-shop. I offered to go in and train them how to use email so that they didn't breach my privacy. They never took me up on the offer. The only reason they changed their methodology was because they didn't want me calling up to complain again. They really don't understand what all the fuss was about.

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Holmes

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

Registration Number: Z5353001

Date Registered: 17 April 2001 Registration Expires: 16 April 2012

Data Controller: METROPOLITAN POLICE TRADING SERVICE

Address:

STEPHEN BARRETT HOUSE

134 THURLOW PARK ROAD

WEST DULWICH

LONDON

SE21 8HN

The one shock is you put in "Metropolitan Police Service" and get out "Metropolitan Police Trading Service".

I figured searching for a more accurate represntation of the name would give better reuslts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

"The police never got with the Data Protection program. There is no leadership on this issue from the top on down."

Oddly enough, when I get on the radio to do a name check, I only get to hear what's relevant to that incident. If I want to dig any further, I need to justify it. Control will often refuse to disclose further.

If I want to search any systems, I need to provide a reason and my access is recorded and subsequently audited.

What you really mean is "occasionally, officers or civillian staff communicating with the public bang email addresses into the wrong field in Outlook."

Yes, it's an epic fail when a copper or civvy manages to foul up an email list. There's no real excuse for it, but accidents do happen. I suggest, however, that similar accidents happen all the time elsewhere, and the only solution is something technological (expensive, in public sector procurement terms) or further training (easy enough, but still expensive and unlikely to kill the problem stone dead).

The data protection piece that really matters - PNC and criminal intelligence information - is locked tight, and is getting tighter by the day. A new copper is left in no doubt what unauthorised searches and information release means to a career and continued liberty, it's just a shame that the recruitment drive in the eighties and late nineties didn't emphasise the same standards - we'd not need Leveson, for starters.

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Re: Tip of the Iceberg

The Metropolitan Police Trading Service is not the Metropolitan Police.

From http://www.metibb.co.uk/mpts%20new.pdf

"The METROPOLITAN POLICE TRADING SERVICE is owned by members of the Metropolitan Police Service...The MPTS exists for the benefit of its members by supplying goods and services through a network of over 200 ‘authorised suppliers’ and extending credit facilities over five years if required."

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Black Helicopters

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

"The data protection piece that really matters - PNC and criminal intelligence information - is locked tight, and is getting tighter by the day. A new copper is left in no doubt what unauthorised searches and information release means to a career and continued liberty, it's just a shame that the recruitment drive in the eighties and late nineties didn't emphasise the same standards"

but the weak link is still the meatsack hence why it still happens, the only way to truely secure it would be to deny all access to it.

In terms of the punishments of which you speak, thats in the absolute minority of cases, most get to resign before they are pushed if they are even punished at all.

Look at Weeting and Elveden for examples where it appears that the arrests relate mainly to the civilians and not so much to the plod being paid.

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FAIL

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

Ok, then MPS really suck at official registration.

AND MPTS is a really bad company name, since it initially looks like a trading name for MPS!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tip of the Iceberg

Wouldn't it be ACPO who would have to be registered? (Which they are, Registration Number: Z127313X).

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Re: Tip of the Iceberg

Date Registered: 09 September 2000 Registration Expires: 08 September 2012

Data Controller: COMMISSIONER FOR THE METROPOLIS

Address:

METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE

NEW SCOTLAND YARD

BROADWAY

LONDON

SW1H 0BG

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Surely a poorly designed email program?

A sensible design would warn if there were a lot of CC'd contacts, for this very reason.

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Re: Surely a poorly designed email program?

A better design would auto-switch to BCC above a certain number of recipients, say 5.

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Alert

That's the rumour mill circulating round my work

Thanks for that headline and it's truncation potential - now one of my colleagues (who dropped past my desk) wants to know why the caption on one of my firefox tabs reads "West Yorkshire Gay Police Ass"

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Happy

Re: That's the rumour mill circulating round my work

Oh well, now it's started you might as well milk it for all it's worth.

Try sidling up to a few people and saying "'Ello, 'ello, 'ello?" with a suggestive tone and in a Yorkshire accent. That should get things going nicely.

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FAIL

"these email addresses are retained solely by the WYGPA"

Not any more. They really don't understand do they.

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Joke

It's fun to stay at the...

WYGPA!

(Anyone else thought of that one?)

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Made me recall the gay dutch police sketch from Harry Enfield a few years back

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Ah! found it..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRfluaMKoOY

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Facepalm

Privicy

You all realize we are talking about EMAIL here, right?

It's about a private as a postcard.

If this is REALLY a concern (and I understand it probibly is), maybe they should have a board somewhere and their members can anonymously go to it, maybe RSS feed so they know when it's been updated?

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Trollface

CBT

"...we would like to assure everyone that steps have been taken to ensure that the same mistake will not happen again."

The perpetrator gets an hour on the tower of power?

Or perhaps some major CBT:

Cc replaced by Bcc Today

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CBT

Surely that'd only apply to the police motorcyclists?

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Big Brother

23456

But what if they 'mislaid' a list of coppers with convictions for fraud, GBH etc.,?

Oh no, it wouldn't happen of course. They couldn't all fit on a stick or at least crash the servers. Still, when G4grabbit runs the shop all will be well.

Citizen 30675b

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