More than 8,000 students have had their email addresses leaked by Student Finance England (SFE), following a data blunder by staff.
The agency, which runs the student loans scheme in England on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, emailed students at the start of the week, but inadvertently attached a list of all the emails on the distribution list, according to reports in The Telegraph.
The email was sent to students due to start university this coming autumn, who had started but not completed online grant application forms, reminding them of the need to do so.
“We have contacted all customers affected to let them know about this issue,” the Student Loans Company, which oversees SFE, said in a statement.
“The integrity and security of student accounts and the protection of personal information is vital to us and we apologise to all of the students involved.”
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has taken a dim view of such data breaches and in recent months it has issued fines as high as £140,000 for data breaches.
The ICO can issue fines up to £500,000 for what it regards as the most serious data breaches, though typically, the highest fines it has issued to date are those cases that related to the loss of information about children.
Whether it will regard the loss of details of those students applying for financial assistance remains to be seen.
The ICO had not responded to requests for comment from V3 on this breach, though, at the time of publication.
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