back to article Diplomats are supposed to be subtle and clever. Australia’s just leaked 1,000 citizens’ email addresses

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has just exposed personal details of over 1,000 citizens in an email. Australia has all-but-closed its borders during the COVID-19 pandemic, rationing the number of citizens who can fly into the country each day. That policy means the few airlines still flying sell …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

    you would imagine that by now the interface/training would have changed to stop this.

    With exchange someone knocks up a group for convience and as it shows a single entry on the "to" field so they go ahead like they would for internal message but since it is going out vias SMTP the email has each recipient rather than just the group name on the "to" line.

    MS fail due to showing their own dialog rather than a specific one for SMTP where the user could see who is getting what.

    Even a question box saying one of more recipients is going to have the full mailing list are you sure? would be enough

    1. hitmouse

      Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

      The email package is irrelevant - people misuse lists from list servers just as often.

      Government agencies do not value IT training, and so you have an endless stream of these basic failures in digital competencies. They also fail to appear on mandatory reporting lists for such breaches.

    2. sinsi

      Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

      I went back and re-read the story but still can't find where Microsoft comes in to it.

      Also, what is this SMTP dialog box you speak of?

    3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

      Sorry, but we have decades of evidence that training and 'are you sure' simply don't work. People are too busy thinking about what they are trying to achieve to give any thought to the software that they shouldn't have to know much about.

      What might work is for the client side to not accept more than one address in the To or CC fields, only BCC. I suppose there are use cases for allowing people to 'Reply All' but that should be extra work. Not the default. (Hey, that solves another stupid email abuse issue. A Toofer!)

      Being a rules engine isn't what people are good at. We have these new-fangled computermabobs for that.

      1. Meph

        Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

        Being able to configure a maximum threshold at the exchange side would be a useful addition. Send an email to and/or Cc'd to 10 people, no problem. Send an email to a hundred people? Computer says no.

        1. RM Myers Silver badge

          Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

          I'm not an expert on Exchange, but I believe you can set a limit, although a distribution list only counts as one. You might check out the below link for details.

          https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Exchange/mail-flow/message-size-limits?view=exchserver-2019

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Unhappy

    These days only 1,000 probably does rate as subtle.

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Officials tried to recall the mail

    Recalling email is as effective as recalling farts.

  4. EnviableOne Silver badge

    Need to be renamed

    Department of Affairs Forgien and Trade ....

  5. chrisw67

    "Diplomats are supposed to be subtle and clever. "

    Casting every employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a "diplomat" is a little misleading. This is old fashioned administrative ineptitude by a peon and not at all like, for example, our ambassador to Eastasia naming all his sources risking their detention, imprisonment, or worse.

  6. Denarius Silver badge

    DFAT, NSW same same only worse

    A state government leaked 1000s of names and bank account details recently. Worth not getting a refund to dodge that fail.

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