Security concerns hit web visa applications
ONLINE applications for some UK visas have been suspended amid claims a security loophole left personal data vulnerable to identity thieves, it was reported last night.
IT systems covering India, Russia and Nigeria were affected and up to 50,000 Indian travellers could have been exposed to having their personal details stolen.
Home addresses, dates of birth and passport numbers were all said to be accessible for more than a year, creating what the Tories said was a security breach open to being exploited by terrorists.
The Information Commissioner, the government's data privacy watchdog demanded a "full explanation" from the Foreign Office over the apparent breach - to which it was alerted a year ago.
"The Information Commissioner's Office takes security breaches very seriously. We will expect a full explanation from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to establish what and how this incident has happened," a spokesman said.
The Foreign Office claimed the IT system was not connected to the government's own secure information system which is used to process the applications.
Problems with the site were first reported to the firm and the High Commissioner by an Indian visa applicant, Sanjib Mitra, in April 2006, when he found that he could access other people's personal data.
The Conservative shadow immigration minister, Damian Green, said: "This will have been a treasure trove for international terrorists."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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