Personal data leak in mass email prompts apology from Dean of Graduate Studies

College has said that it is “reviewing its processes and safeguards to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future”

The Dean of Graduate studies has apologised after an email containing “confidential personal data” was sent to every postgraduate student registered in College.

In an email to postgraduates, Martine Smith said that College is “reviewing [its] processes and safeguards to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future”.

“The unauthorised disclosure of confidential information is a very serious matter for the College and I have spent the intervening time liaising with the Data Protection Officer (DPO) and IT Services to minimise the impact on the student in question and on you all.”

She continued: “As is so often the case in these situations, the weakest link in our defences against data breaches is the individual human being. Despite our usual safeguards, the email was accidentally issued to you all as a result of simple human error.”

“I am very grateful to you all for taking this breach so seriously and for contacting me and the DPO. I kindly request that you delete the email, which contains confidential information, as soon as possible.”

Students were advised that they could contact the DPO or Smith herself for further information, or to discuss anything in confidence.

In a statement to Trinity News, College said it “very much regret[s] this error, which was an isolated incident that occurred despite established practices and procedures being in place”.

“We have apologised to the student in question and to all postgraduate students who received the email in error.”

It continued: “IT Security and Data Protection are core priorities for the University, and the Data Protection Officer and Trinity IT Services have provided support from the outset of the incident. With their help, we continue to monitor the situation to ensure that we reduce the impact on the student in question and take all the steps we can to prevent something of this kind from recurring.”

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.