AIB confirms payment receipts mix-up

AIB confirms payment receipts mix-up
By Cian Ginty

AIB confirmed Thursday evening that a computer error caused 15,000 payment advice slips to be sent to the wrong addresses.

The bank apologised for the mistake and said that it is writing to customers affected. AIB also stated it had informed the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. The payment advice slips, which contain confidential bank details, are receipts that record foreign currency lodgements.

Ironically, the revelation from the bank came just 24 hours after the Data Protection Commissioner told RTE’s News at One programme that private organisations are taking data security responsibility more seriously then the public sector.

The commissioner pointed out that, in the event of a data breach, banks would have to compensate customers and deal with a public backlash.

“This issue of the dangers of information technology applies also to the private sector, but I must say I’ve evidence that large private organisations are perhaps taking their responsibility more seriously in this area than public sector agencies,” Billy Hawkes, the Data Protection Commissioner, said on Radio One’s lunch time news on Wednesday.

The commissioner was speaking with reference to the massive UK data breach that saw the disappearance of bank and other personal details of 25 million people after two discs containing this information were lost while being transported between two Revenue & Customs offices.

He said the events in the UK should be a “wakeup call” to Ireland and the possibility of a large-scale public sector data loss should be a concern to all because similar amounts of information is held in central government databases in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Simon Coveney TD of Fine Gael has called on AIB to explain how the error occurred in the first place. “AIB needs to provide clarity on the security of customers’ bank accounts without delay and to make contact with the 15,000 customers involved in this fiasco to reassure them of the security of their accounts.”

“The privacy of customers’ bank account details is essential to the security of any banking system. The details that AIB has given in relation to this issue are totally insufficient to reassure customers that account details may not have fallen into the wrong hands,” said Coveney.

Recent high-profile breaches from Irish government databases include information from both the Garda PULSE national computer system and the social welfare systems being leaked to private investigators hired by insurance firms.

Early this year a senior civil servant at the Department of Social and Family Affairs resigned after it was reported he improperly accessed and passed on records of up to 40 people, while over 100 staff at the department reportedly accessed the computer files on a EuroMillions Lotto winner.

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