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Northern Ireland authorities launched an investigation Wednesday into a data leak that released the private details of police officers online, sparking concerns for their safety, Euronews reported.
On Tuesday, a document detailing the names and ranks of thousands of police officers appeared online after police mistakenly posted it while responding to a routine request under the United Kingdom’s Freedom of Information Act.
Police officials said the leaked data included staff members’ place of work, last names, and first initials, but not their home addresses.
On Wednesday, the chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Federation, Liam Kelly, described the data leak as “monumental.” “Our officers go to great lengths to protect their identity,” he said. “Some of them don’t even tell their close friends and associates.”
The leak came just months after the attempted assassination of police officer John Caldwell by dissident Irish Republicans, an attack that raised the terrorist threat level in the province.
Police in Northern Ireland still face violence, although far less than officers did during the three decades of conflict between British loyalists and Irish republican paramilitaries known as “The Troubles”, which officially ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.