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Information Security

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Metadata catches politicians out again...and again..

03 December 2007  |  3141 views  |  0

What is it about politics and embarrassing metadata?

 UK readers will be familiar with the row about dodgy political donations that is currently surrounding the Labour party. It was perhaps only a matter of time before metadata gave someone's secrets away - as it has a habit of doing in political rows.

 Well, it happened this weekend - the Sunday Herald newspaper printed allegations that Scottish Labour chief Wendy Alexander was aware of the potentially dodgy nature of a donation weeks before she had claimed to be. The smoking gun? Metadata in a Word document showed the date it had been saved (November 5th) and that the username was her husband's.

 The row is all over the press now, and Alexander may end up having to resign, or even being prosecuted under the UK's election finance laws. It's becoming almost commonplace to see these metadata leaks pop up in political rows, and I'm sure the more clued-up journalists check the properties and tracked changes on every Word document they get hold of! Perhaps politicians should be told that even PDF documents aren't normally safe either unless the right steps have been taken to make them secure...

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