U.K. Prime Minister May’s party conference app’s security flaws exposed personal details of government officials

U.K. Prime Minister May’s party conference app’s security flaws exposed personal details of government officials

British Prime Minister Theresa May

‘I think people will see a really impressive conference all round this year.’

Brandon Lewis, Conservative Party

That was U.K. Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, speaking to Sky News about the Tories’ annual party conference before a columnist with the Guardian newspaper discovered that the conference app allowed anyone to log in as any attendee.

That meant that the private data of senior party officials, including cabinet ministers, was accessible to anyone who logged in. As the Guardian put it, “images posted to social media showed people logging in as Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and others, revealing personal information including their mobile phone numbers.”

Dawn Foster, the Guardian columnist who discovered the breach, was briefly alarmed to discover that, once she had logged into the app as former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, she could not log out:

Other journalists — and the opposition parties, of course — suggested that a political party that could not design a conference log-in process should perhaps invite additional adults into the room while attempting to govern, and in particular dealing with the messy details of separating from the European Union.

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But as another journalist noted dryly, there was no need to fret: a privacy policy was in place.

It’s not the first annual Tory conference to be plagued by logistical challenges. Last year, a comedian managed to gain access to the conference, and interrupted Prime Minister Theresa May to hand her a pink slip. Later, the slogan on the wall behind May — “Building a country that works for everyone” — fell apart, one agonizing letter at a time.

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