Inadvertent disclosure of private information is a lot worse than ‘advertent’ disclosure.
Statistician Nolan "within five minutes" recognized his error and contacted the department’s computer specialists who shut down the agency’s e-mail system for "about an hour" Thursday and "scrubbed the system," removing all copies of the HIV/AIDS e-mail and its attachments from the system, O’Connor said.
"We don’t know the number of people who opened the attachment, but it appears to our information technology staff that only 10 people opened the e-mail," O’Connor said. "We have already contacted most of them and will contact the others Monday.
"If this was deliberate, it would be a criminal offense," O’Connor confirmed, "But it appears to be totally inadvertent. . . . A person made a mistake. This poses no public health threat. We don’t believe any harm has been done, but that doesn’t mean we’re not taking this very, very seriously. It shouldn’t have happened and we want to make sure it can never happen again."
I have mistakenly included information in email messages in the past as well. There is nothing worse. This is why digital rights management for files and/or email messages is a necessity.
Update 2/21/05: I inadvertently left out the link to the excerpt above, so I went to google to look for it and came up empty-handed. I believe the story was in the Sun Sentinel but I can’t be sure. I did find another story that appears to be from the same news service here.