Bank of England Disables Auto-Complete After Email Blunder

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The Bank of England has been forced to switch off autocomplete in its email platform after its head of press accidentally sent highly confidential information to a journalist.

The comms professional sent emails revealing that the Bank was researching the potential impact of a UK exit from the European Union, and the existence of a top secret plan dubbed “Project Bookend.”

The never-before-revealed project – which was deliberately kept a secret from the press and most Bank of England employees – apparently details the financial implications if the UK is forced to leave the EU following an upcoming referendum.

More embarrassingly for BoE governor, Mark Carney, is that the emails also included instructions on how to fend off any questions inquiring about the existence of such a report.

It’s unclear what email platform the BoE uses, but its decision to permanently disable auto-complete will mean slightly more work for employees.

This could result in “pushback” from staff, argued Tony Pepper, CEO of encryption firm Egress.

“Many of us spend a large part of our day batting emails back and forth, and autofill does make life that little bit easier and saves time – having to look up and re-enter email information every time can seriously impact productivity,” he added.

“Instead of trying to force unwanted change on staff, organizations should look for solutions that allow people to work how they wish to, but in a secure way.”

Some messaging services are able to restrict and even revoke access to emails altogether if mistakes happen, Pepper claimed.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request Egress sent to data privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) last December revealed that a whopping 93% of breaches in Q2 2014 were down to human error.

Just 7% in the period were ascribed to technical issues, proving that organizations need to get smarter at building in checks and balances to prevent data loss due to human mistakes.

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