East Renfrewshire recreation chiefs issue apology after email error led to data breach

An apology has been issued to hundreds of parents after an email error by recreation leaders in east Renfrewshire led to a data protection breach.

Bosses at East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure (ERCL) blamed “human error” for the breach, which saw the email addresses of more than 400 residents made public.

An employee had emailed a mother asking if she was still interested in booking swimming lessons for her young son, but mistakenly copied around 430 other people.

This meant that they could all see each other’s email addresses.

A parent who contacted Barrhead News about the blunder said she was shocked to receive contact details for so many other people.

“My son is on a waiting list for swimming lessons in East Renfrewshire,” added the 35-year-old mother, who asked not to be named.

“I shouldn’t have received an email containing the personal details of about 400 other people – and clearly they can see mine too.

“This looks like a massive data breach to me. Others in the email chain have raised the same point.

“It’s about how quickly your data can be shared by what I suspect is human error.”

The mother said she had been waiting for months for swimming lessons to be arranged for her children.

ERCL is a charity with over 400 employees providing sporting, leisure, arts and cultural services in East Renfrewshire.

It operates 10 libraries, four sports centers with gymnasiums and swimming pools, a 330-seat theater and 18 community centers, as well as managing the rental of 35 evening and weekend schools.

In addition to providing swimming lessons, ERCL offers sports coaching, an active schools program, art classes and events, and library and literacy programs ranging from Bookbug sessions to author visits.

An ERCL spokeswoman said further training would be provided to staff to avoid a repeat of the email error.

She told the Barrhead News: ‘Due to human error, an email was sent to a group of customers regarding swimming lessons on Friday, where the email addresses were not copied to the ‘blind.

“We apologize for the error and take this matter very seriously. We have contacted these customers and apologize to those affected.

“Both the individual and our employees will receive additional training on customer engagement in the future.”

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