Shell employee contact data breach affects over 100,000

The following was posted by John Donavan and attributed to Royal Dutch Shell (“Shell”) Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer Richard Wiseman:


I am writing to inform you of an incident involving misuse of company data.

It has become clear recently that the Global Address List, containing contact information of everyone in Shell and some contractors, joint ventures and other third parties, has been downloaded without authorisation and distributed to some external parties. We do not know who did this. We are investigating and are raising this theft of information with the relevant data protection authorities. The incident is receiving some media coverage.

I do not feel that there is any need to be alarmed. However, as a precaution, if you receive any nuisance telephone calls or e-mails then please contact your line manager, HR or security.

Whilst writing about this incident, I would like to take the opportunity to remind us all of the requirements of the Code of Conduct relating to Information Management, including data privacy and communications.

Donovan disputes the no need to be alarmed and suggests that Nigerian employees might need to be concerned for their safety as the addressbook was allegedly obtained by Nigerian activists.

In a previous blog entry on February 4, Donovan indicated that the blog was in possession of a copy of the directory and it contains names, addresses, and phone numbers of over 100,000 Shell employees and contractors worldwide. In an email to the company Donovan reportedly wrote:

From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: 03 February 2010 12:29
To: Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC
Cc: Wiseman, Richard RM SI-RDS-CCO

Dear Mr Brandjes

We are in possession of a massive database containing contact information for every Shell employee throughout the world.

It was supplied by an organized group of over 100 Shell employees from the USA, the UK and the Netherlands intent on a corporate revolution inside your company. We agree with the aims of the group.

No doubt “CAS” is already investigating this colossal breach of security.


Read more on Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which is not the official Shell site, but a site set up by those critical of or concerned about Shell.

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