Scottish Borders Council has acknowledged a digital data breach that it says has affected around 600 customers.
The local authority has issued a statement indicating that, while alerting 1,300 residents that they are eligible for a payment, it accidentally sent three emails to multiple individuals in which all the recipients’ addresses were visible.
A spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to all our customers affected by this data breach and for any distress or embarrassment this has caused.
“Those customers who have received an email which includes others’ email addresses are asked to delete it. All payments will be made as planned to these individuals.
“Individual email addresses were disclosed, this is personal information. The content of the email also outlined that eligibility for the payment was due to the receipt of free school meals, which we absolutely appreciate is a sensitive matter for individuals.
“We are taking the incident very seriously and have discussed it with the Information Commissioner’s Office. We are taking steps to put in place a technical solution to minimise the chances of a similar incident occurring again.”
The council added that all those eligible for the relevant payments were to be contacted to confirm by the end of last week.
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