UK Cabinet Office has published the home and work addresses of 1’097 celebrities and politicians on the government website as part of the New Year’s Honours list
The UK Cabinet Office has been forced to apologise after the New Year’s Honours recipient list published on the official UK government website also published the home and work addresses of 1’097 celebrities and politicians.
The UK government’s Cabinet Office has been forced to issue an apology after the home and work addresses of 1’097 New Year Honours recipients were accidentally posted on the official government website.
The list remained live for at least 90 minuets and a large number of copies of the list are now listed for sale online and on the dark web.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the list, which includes lawmakers, celebrities, politicians, CEOs and senior police officers had been uploaded by mistake and has now been taken down. But not before copies were made available to purchase online by unscrupulous opportunists.
The list of honors is published twice a year, once at New Year’s and then again for the Queen’s birthday, and recognises excellence in a spectrum of pursuits, ranging from arts and athletics to science and politics. Although over recent decades many recipients have declined their honours amidst accusations of cronyism.
This year’s list, made up of 1,097 people in total, included famous faces from the entertainment industry such as Elton John, “Grease” star Olivia Newton-John, and director Sam Mendes.
A government spokesperson said in a statement: “A version of the New Year Honours 2020 list was published in error which contained recipients’ addresses. The information was removed as soon as possible. We apologise to all those affected and are looking into how this happened. We have reported the matter to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and are contacting all those affected directly.”
The list also included the home addresses of controversial figures in UK politics and policing raising concerns for their safety now that copies of their home addresses are available to purchase online.
Winners receive their medals during 30 or so separate Investiture ceremonies throughout the year at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II dubs newly minted knights with a sword that previously belonged to her father, George VI.
What exactly is the UK Honours System
Although knights and dames may be the most well-known commendations, there’s a hierarchy of ranks in the honours system, according to the UK government.
At the highest level is the Companion of Honour, awarded those who’ve made major contributions in the arts, science, medicine, or government over an extended period.
Next, the distinction of being a knight or dame is conferred on those who’ve made long-term national contributions seen as inspirational or significant.
The Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, is for those who’ve played a “prominent but lesser role at the national level, or a leading role at the regional level,” according to the UK government.
The Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, is for those who’ve taken a major role in local activities, and through that become known nationally in their field.
The Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, is for outstanding achievement or service to one’s community.
Lastly, at the lowest rank is the British Empire Medal, or BEM, is for those who have undertaken “hands-on” voluntary services for their local community.
Controversies over the years and accusations of cronyism, cash for honours bribery, colonialism and the fact that the British Empire no longer exists have lead to a significant number of recipients refusing to accept their honours.
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