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UK officials leak celebrity addresses in honors list

December 28, 2019

Addresses of musicians, Oscar-winning directors, and famous athletes were published "in error" by UK officials. Authorities revealed the celebrities' data while declaring them winners of New Year's Honors.

Elton John at the premiere of biopic Rocketman
Image: Getty Images for Paramount Pictures/J. Spicer

UK privacy watchdog said they would be "making enquires" into reported data breach that revealed home addresses for nearly 1100 people, including high-profile celebrities, on a government website.

The announcement by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) comes after Britain's Cabinet Office, another state body, published a list of winners of the New Year's Honours. The winners are awarded knighthoods or other orders of merit by the British crown.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that the document also listed the winners' addresses. They said that the data was published "in error" and removed as soon as possible.

"We apologize to all those affected and are looking into how this happened," the Cabinet Office said in a statement cited by the PA Media news agency.

From Elton John to cricket stars

This list published on Friday included singer Elton John, who became a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour. The music star had been knighted in 1998. Hollywood directors Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen were also listed as receiving knighthoods in the document published on Friday. Athletes, such as cricket and football players, were also named.

The addresses were visible for about one hour before being removed.

With ICO looking into the leak, it is possible for the Cabinet Office to face monetary fines for privacy violations.

The Cabinet Office published the list of special honors twice per year, once at the year's end and one ahead of the Queen Elizabeth's birthday celebration in June.

dj/xx (AP, Reuters)

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