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Autofill error accidentally revealed passport data for 31 world leaders

Autofill error accidentally revealed passport data for 31 world leaders

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Most of the time, autofill mistakes in your email's "to" field will cause some mild embarrassment or a bit of confusion. The mistake an Australian government official made is a bit worse. Passport and visa details for 31 world leaders who attended the last G20 summit (including President Obama) were sent to the wrong recipients.

Instead of finding its way to another government agency, the data was sent to organizers of the Asian Cup, who quickly alerted the Australian immigration department of the embarrassing blunder. Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and David Cameron were among the other leaders who unknowingly had their personal information slip out.

In a letter obtained by The Guardian, it was determined that the mistake could've been prevented if the sender had just double checked the message's recipient. "The cause of the breach was human error," the letter reads. "[Redacted] failed to check that the autofill function in Microsoft Outlook had entered the correct person’s details into the email ‘To’ field." But lucky for the immigration department, this never turned into a real privacy or national security crisis. The Asian Cup committee said the email was promptly deleted — and they emptied the trash just to be sure it wouldn't be recovered. Apparently that was enough assurance for the agency to keep the breach a secret and not notify world leaders, a decision that's already stirred some controversy and may be in violation of privacy laws in some countries.