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Privacy breach larger than first thought

Today I confirmed the scale of the privacy breach on Friday was larger than first thought.

It has been very disappointing to learn today that the spread sheet released in error on Friday could be manipulated to provide details of every claim in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.

This means that the number of claim details released was potentially as high as 83,000. No names were released.

It would take a detailed examination of the spread sheet to view this information, and it was not apparent that it was accessible when I provided information to our customers on Friday.

It’s important to note that we have undertakings from the recipient that the information was destroyed, so the information is no longer available to anyone outside EQC.

However, this does not excuse the lapse that has allowed so much private information out, no matter how briefly. I unreservedly apologise to all our customers in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.

As I said on Friday, we are reviewing our systems to prevent this from ever occurring again.

EQC has turned off the ‘auto populate’ function in Outlook so that email recipients can’t be entered in error, but our long term solutions focus on using more secure methods of data transfer than email to protect our customers and ourselves from future breaches.

Ian Simpson
EQC chief executive

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