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Hundreds of furious Football Index investors have their identities revealed by DCMS data breach after email in response to complaints about collapsed gambling platform was sent out with recipients’ names not hidden
- Football Index customers have been affected by a data breach by the DCMS
- An email sent by the department forgot to use the BCC option to hide identities
- As a result, everyone emailed saw their address become discoverable by others
- The DCMS sent out another mass message and urged users to delete the first
By Daniel Davis For Mailonline
Published: | Updated:
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have been embroiled in a sizeable data breach after an email sent out to hundreds of furious Football Index customers did not hide their identities.
The government were contacted by a large number of investors in the wake of the collapse of the online gambling platform and, as is commonplace, sent out a mass message acknowledging their complaints.
It quickly transpired, however, that the email addresses of almost 500 people were discoverable because the DCMS did not make use of the BCC function.
Hundreds of Football Index users have been affected by a DCMS data breach (pictured: Football Index’s logo on Nottingham Forest’s shirt before the sponsorship was axed)
The recipients of the email were asked to delete it and the DCMS have apologised for the error
The Blind Carbon Copy feature is typically used when sending the same email to a big group and will make the addresses of recipients invisible to others.
When the department were made aware of the mistake, another email was sent out which urged those in receipt of the first to delete it.
‘Dear all, you were just sent an email in error, which should be deleted,’ it read.
‘Recipients were meant to be BCC’d in, but were accidentally included in the Copy List. Please accept our apologies for our error.
The original mass email (seen above) was sent out with the identities of all recipients visible
Oliver Dowden (pictured above) is the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
‘We will ensure that this issue is investigated and that appropriate action is taken. We take this matter very seriously.’
A DCMS spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of a data breach which was caused by human error and have taken the appropriate steps including informing the Information Commissioner’s Office.’
The incident has been reported to the department’s Data Protection Officer.
As a result of the large amount of complaints directed at the much-maligned Football Index, the government announced a review into the matter.
The self-proclaimed football ‘stock market’ fell into administration last month, a move which caused investors to lose out on large amounts of money.
Sportsmail heard from several customers during the fallout and some revealed they stood to be affected by ‘life-altering’ losses.
With the share price of players on the site dropping drastically over the course of one fateful weekend, Football Index was quickly accused of being a ‘Ponzi scheme’.
There was ire especially targeted at the company’s consistent assurances that it was in a healthy financial situation – despite an email sent out by its CEO and founder, Adam Cole, and seen by Sportsmail, revealing otherwise.
Adam Cole (above), the chairman and founder of Football Index, admitted to Football Index’s financial difficulties in an email sent to shareholders last month
An independent expert will carry out the review.
It will take a look at the ‘decisions and actions of the Gambling Commission and any other regulators’, in order to unearth any ‘potential areas for improvement’.
The review will run alongside a separate probe into the parent company of Football Index, BetIndex Limited, which is based in Jersey.
The collapse was sparked after a bombshell announcement from Football Index over the slashing of dividends.
The buy and sell prices for the world’s top players plummeted drastically during the collapse
Customers were able to buy and sell ‘shares’ in real-life players and, depending on the value of the footballers and their performances, the share price would rise.
The model is similar to the fluctuations involved with investing in companies, and ‘dividends’ would be paid into the banks of users.
With serious financial issues lurking beneath the surface, Football Index defended the cuts and insisted the decision had been taken to ‘ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform’.
The plummeting share values of players caused the value of portfolios to all but disappear – and Football Index’s licence was eventually suspended by the Gambling Commission.
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