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South American hacker exposes privacy flaws

An anonymous hacker has posted six million details of Chilean residents online in a bid to highlight data-protection problems in the country.
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Written by Tom Espiner on

An anonymous hacker has posted six million details of Chilean residents online in a bid to highlight data-protection problems in the country.

The details were posted on Saturday on Spanish-language technology blog FayerWayer, with links to government databases. The links were spotted and taken down by FayerWayer blogger JI Stark.

According to FayerWayer, the databases came from the Chilean Electoral Service, the Directorate of National Mobilisation (which manages national military service), the Ministry of Education and a business telephone directory for Santiago, which contained two million names and addresses.

Personal details leaked included names, addresses, telephone numbers, tax-identification numbers and educational history, reported FayerWayer. The hacker claimed in a note accompanying the links to have posted the information to draw attention to data-protection issues.

JI Stark informed the Cybercrime Brigade of Chile's police force, according to FayerWayer. The police then began an investigation, according to the Chilean national newspaper El Mercurio on Monday.

The Cybercrime Brigade is investigating whether the information was illegally accessed or removed from government servers, or whether all of the information was already in the public domain, through sales of information to private companies.

Chilean government spokesman Francisco Vidal on Sunday said that data leaks through Internet portals are a "serious and delicate" matter and added that he hoped public-administration computer systems were adequately protected, El Mercurio reported.

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