The Guardian reports that a database containing the personal details of almost 10,000 asylum seekers in Australia, both adults and children, was mistakenly made available on the Web site of the country’s?Department of Immigration and Border Protection (h/t DataBreaches.net).
The database included names, nationalities, locations, arrival dates and boat arrival information. Those listed range in age from newborns to over 80, and come from countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
“The department acknowledges that the file was vulnerable to unauthorized access,” the Department of Immigration said in a statement. “The department is investigating how this occurred to ensure that it does not happen again.”
As the Guardian notes, many of those identified in the database could now face retribution if they’re returned to their countries of origin.
Katie Wrigley, a solicitor at the Refugee Advice & Casework Service, told the Guardian, “We are incredibly careful in making sure that clients understand the impact of any public statement made in Australia for their own safety and the safety of family members. Now this data has just been released wholesale. Knowing that people are here in Australia puts people at serious risk of harm if their claims are rejected.”