How do I alert thee? Let me count the ways that don't work – UK edition (updated)

On February 2nd, I blogged:

… I spent some time yesterday trying to locate a contact email for the NHS to alert them that a hacker had dumped a list of vulnerabilities in NHS sites that hackers could exploit. Failing to find any central contact for reporting infosecurity concerns or breaches, I tweeted an inquiry as to how to reach them and finally decided to email the ICO’s press contact to ask them if the ICO could get in touch with the NHS to point them to the paste and list of vulnerabilities. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but I hope someone lets the NHS know so they can address the vulnerabilities before others exploit them.

I never did get a response from the ICO’s press contact, but Jon Baines picked up my tweets about this matter and followed up on his own. He relates his own (frustrating) experiences in this post  and pointed out that he had previously suggested the ICO set up a priority alert system to facilitate warning entities of breaches or impending breaches:

I think the ICO should consider operating a priority alert system when well-informed third-parties alert them to exposures of personal data. They certainly shouldn’t leave those third parties to do in-depth investigation.

Jon never got a response from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to that earlier suggestion, but hopefully, in light of this most recent example, the ICO will give some serious thought to facilitating notification of breaches or alerts.

Updated Feb. 9th: I received a response to my Feb. 1st message to the ICO’s press office, suggesting they contact NHS to alert them to the publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. Their response:

Thank you for the information you have provided which has been forwarded to the appropriate department.

As this does not affect your own personal information we will only contact you again if we require further information. Thank you once again for bringing this to our attention.

I read that a few times, trying to figure out if that means that the ICO would alert the NHS or not. And I couldn’t really be sure, but took some hope from noting that unlike previous contacts that were answered by someone in the press office, this reply was signed by a Case Officer for the ICO.

So maybe, just maybe….?

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