British officials have tendered an apology after mistakenly publishing the home addresses of more than 1,000 people who received special honors including singers Elton John and Olivia Newton-John.
The list also included Oscar-winning film directors, senior politicians and diplomats, popular athletes and people in sensitive defense roles.
It occurred late Friday, December 27 when the Cabinet Office posted the recipients of New Year’s Honors, including knighthoods online.
“The information was removed as soon as possible,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement. “We apologize to all those affected and are looking into how this happened.” Officials said the individuals will be contacted about the error.
Following the incident, the Information Commissioner’s Office said it was investigating “in response to reports of a data breach involving the Cabinet Office and the New Year’s Honors list.” It can impose fines for privacy violations.
Britain’s Cabinet Office publishes a list of the people receiving honors for merit, service or bravery twice a year: shortly before New Year’s Eve and on a Saturday in June when Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is officially observed.
The list included Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes of American Beauty and James Bond fame, who was made a knight along with Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave, winner of the Oscar for best picture.