Governments and embassies
There are 5,682 emails from EC.EUROPA.EU (European Commission), 1,668 from people from the European Parliament, 222 people from the UK Foreign Office
, 163 people from the US Department of State
), and many more from other embassies (India, Qatar, Georgia, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, ... to only name a few)... Remember, in many cases with phone number, birthdate, personal address and so on. Not sure I would be thrilled to hear about this leak if I was working for one of those organizations.
Note: We can tell who is used to take the train and who isn't.
- 394 people from the public radio television company @RTBF
Who has this listing?
Too many. It's impossible to tell how many people have downloaded this file. When such document is freely available on the Internet even for just a few hours you can't control its distribution (and in this case it has been available for a few weeks!).
Why is that a big deal?
Since we can't track who downloaded this file, we don't know who has access to it. This file contains personal private information from people working in embassies, governmental organizations, and other prominent people. I'm a cool guy, I won't share or publish the list (in fact I'll delete it after posting this analysis), but some people may have other motivations. Some may even sell it.
(If you have access to this file, please note that it is illegal to publish it. I would highly recommend that you just delete it.)
At the end of the day, for most of you, this listing is just a little more than the white pages of the old days. Unless you are a public person, that shouldn't change your life. There is no credit card information or bank accounts in there. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't care. It's generally not a good idea to have your home address publicly available on the Internet. People could cross that information with your social media accounts and find out when you are not at home
and take the opportunity to pay you a visit.
What can we do about it?
Not much. It's a bit too late to be honest. The best we can do is to make clear to the people who do have a copy that publishing it or selling it is illegal. But we will never be able to guarantee that this file has been entirely removed from the Internet. That's life. Move on.
But it's never too late to learn from our mistakes. We need to make sure that it won't happen again. That's why it's important that we understand what happened and what are the possible consequences. Our government needs to take that very seriously. I'm baffled by their lack of reaction regarding this case so far. I'm also disappointed by the lack of analysis in traditional Belgian media. But since in this new connected world, we are the media and we are the watchdog of our governments and democracies
, it's our duty to do our part and to wake them up when they need to. So please write blog posts about it and try to educate the people around you about the issue.