THE GUARDIAN has inadvertently leaked the email addresses of 501 beta testers of its forthcoming mobile app.
Motherboard reports that the error occurred on Monday morning when an email was manually sent to a mailing list using the cc field, not the bcc (blind copy) field.
The missive was welcoming a new influx of would-be participants to the iOS programme, offering them access to upcoming features. Unfortunately they got more than they bargained for with a chance to meet like-minded and unwitting fellow testers.
We've all been there, hitting Reply All by mistake, but in the wake of incidents such as the TalkTalk hack, where everyone is even more conscious than usual about online security, it's all a bit embarrassing.
The Guardian quickly sent out an apology email, offering to remove anyone uncomfortable with events from the programme altogether, while stating: "We will be reviewing the process for sending out these kinds of emails to ensure that this doesn't happen again. Once again we would like to offer sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused."
The paper has been running beta tests for its apps for several years. Testers are given access to beta Android versions through a Google+ group, and the beta usually contains a new design or new functionality for readers, along with extra areas to leave feedback and file bug reports.
The feature is similar to the Windows Insider programme, which has been responsible for successfully reinventing Windows as a partially crowdsourced (though closed source) operating system.
This particular Guardian goof was as part of the iOS beta programme which has a less clear path to beta goodness.
It's not clear at present whether the leaked emails constituted the entire list of participants or just a select few, but 501 suggests someone can't count either. µ
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