Independent News and Media company has advised the 19 people caught up in an alleged data breach the information belonging to them may have been “searched more extensively and for a different purpose” than first thought.
In letters issued to past and current employees of INM affected by the alleged breach, the company said the context in which the risk of unauthorised disclosure occurred dated back to 2014 when “a number of INM’s back-up tapes — containing backup copies of electronic data, such as emails to and from INM email addresses and digital files, stored on INM’s servers as at 2014 — were provided to a third-party service provider on the instruction of the then-Chairman of INM.”
Leslie Buckley, INM’s former chairman, has already said he will be “robustly defending” similar allegations reportedly made by the Director of Corporate Enforcement Ian Drennan in a High Court affidavit. It was reported yesterday Mr Buckley was not commenting on the INM letter.
In the letter, INM said that the company’s understanding had been that the data recorded on the backup tapes had been searched to seek details regarding the terms and value for money of a particular long-term contract for professional services between INM and a service supplier.
But it said following contact from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) last month that the data on the tapes “may have been restored and searched more extensively and for a different purpose”.
It suggested this could have extended to communications referring to the 19 people, as well as emails to and from them.
“INM does not know whether any such searches were in fact undertaken or for what purpose but based on the limited information currently available to INM it seems possible that they were. INM also does not know to whom any results of any such searches might have been provided.”
The company is investigating and a spokesman for INM said yesterday the company was not commenting on the letters.
An application by the ODCE in relation to the matter is due to be heard next Monday in the High Court.
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