Newcastle City Council has said it accidentally put 54,000 credit- and debit-card details on a computer system that could be accessed externally.
The council has today admitted it inappropriately released up to 54,000 credit- and debit-card details covering transactions between February 2006 and April 2007, covering payments to the council including council tax, business rates, parking fines, and rent payments.
In a statement on its website, the council said the information released was in an encrypted file and included names, addresses and credit-card numbers. However, the council stressed that no details of either Pin codes or security-code numbers were included in the file that was inappropriately released.
The lapse was discovered during a test of the council's IT security. Following this audit, Newcastle said it closed down the computer servers concerned, and it said that security had been tightened and reinforced.
Newcastle City Council Chief Executive, Ian Stratford, said, "We very much regret that this situation has developed. There has been no indication of any fraud or loss. We are now fully confident that our systems are properly robust, so we are continuing to receive payments by credit and debit cards."
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