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Britain Errantly Posts Celebrities' Home Addresses

Online list included 1,000 honorees, some in defense jobs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 29, 2019 11:01 AM CST

(Newser) – British officials have apologized after mistakenly publishing the home addresses of more than 1,000 people who received special honors, including singers Elton John and Olivia Newton-John. The list included Oscar-winning film directors, senior politicians and diplomats, prominent athletes and people in sensitive defense roles. The addresses were published online for about an hour late Friday when the Cabinet Office posted the recipients of New Year's Honors, including knighthoods. "The information was removed as soon as possible,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement. "We apologize to all those affected and are looking into how this happened." Officials said the individuals will be contacted about the error. The Information Commissioner's Office, which can imposefines for privacy violations, said it was investigating.

Britain’s Cabinet Office publishes a list of the people receiving honors for merit, service or bravery twice a year—shortly before New Year's Eve and on the Saturday in June when Queen Elizabeth II's birthday is officially observed. The list included Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes of American Beauty and James Bond fame, who was made a knight along with Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave, winner of the Oscar for best picture. Big Brother Watch was critical of the government, per the BBC. "It's a farcical and inexcusable mistake, especially given the new Data Protection Act passed by the government last year," the group's director said. "It clearly can't stick by its rules."

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