British ministry accidentally leaks email addresses of Afghan interpreters: ‘It could cost lives’

The British Defense Ministry is embarrassed by a data breach involving private data of Afghan interpreters. According to the BBC report, the email addresses of around 250 people planning to come to the UK were appearing in a group email.

The ministry sent mail to Afghans who have served for the British Armed Forces and are still in Afghanistan or other countries. The recipients email address and profile photo were visible to anyone receiving the message.

A receiver reacted shocked to the disturbance to the BBC. “This mistake could cost the lives of the interpreters. Especially if they are still in Afghanistan.” Some interpreters may not even immediately realize that something was wrong. “He emailed everyone telling them what condition they are in. it’s very dangerous.”

The ministry would have quickly realized a mistake had been made and emailed a warning after half an hour. The interpreters were asked to delete the first email.

‘Incredibly embarrassing’

Leakes reacted to anger in British politics. The ruling Conservative Party MP Johnny Mercer called the way interpreters are treated “incredibly shameful”. He concluded that many people are “going to look for a new place to live again tonight”.

Opposition Labor Party John Healy said the data breach “unnecessarily put lives at risk”. He called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to do more to relocate interpreters left in Britain.

The Ministry of Defense was shrouded in dust due to error. “We apologize to all those affected by this leak,” a spokesperson told the British broadcaster. “We are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

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Western countries have withdrawn their troops from Afghanistan this year after two decades. The extremist Taliban seized power last month. In addition to the United Kingdom, countries such as the Netherlands and the US have also largely evacuated civilians and local former employees.

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