TECHNOLOGY NEWS web site The Register is red-faced this morning after it sent out an email to its readers containing the personal details of around 50,000 other users.
The web site has apologised to its readers in another email, in which it managed not to leak all of their email addresses, and explained to them that their details had been sent to 3,521 readers.
"This morning the name and email address you used to register for The Register was mistakenly sent to 3,521 individuals, also readers of The Register. We've contacted them asking them to delete the email and respect your privacy," it said, with remarkable faith in humanity.
"We are of course terribly sorry for this error and have reported ourselves to the ICO [Information Commissioner's Office]."
We have heard from some of these readers, and all of their comments could be kindly described as disappointed. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the scale of the error. In its news story on the "email blunder", the web site said that it had sent out the names and email addresses of 46,524 of its readers. Ouch.
Many Register readers have expressed their feelings - nay internet-comment-forum-style vitriol - at what happened in the comments beneath The Register's explanation. We would suggest that anyone who has a nervous disposition reads those comments from behind the sofa.
"It's already on Pastebin :( So I think they're pretty much NEVER going to live it down!", says one.
Others are much less kind, and ask the web site how it feels to be on the other end of the personal data breach finger pointing.
"Pretty freakin' poor show if you ask me. A company who goes to great pleasure in sneering at other organisations who commit the same mistake, then doesn't have the same tight controls it 'demands' of others is more than a bit hypocritical," says one angry reader.
"I wonder how long this data will take to appear on BitTorrent. You only need one person out of the 3,512 people to be a shit. And to be honest, that's quite likely," points out another.
The Register brushed the mistake off quite lightly, explaining that, "The two-stage send process that is the norm for all of our mailers was over-looked because someone was in a hurry."
We're just shocked that The Register had 50,000 readers. But maybe not for much longer. µ
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