Covid-19 – Vaud leaks hundreds of emails

Covid-19 – Vaud leaks hundreds of emails
Covid-19 – Vaud leaks hundreds of emails

Posted27 October 2021, 07:07

The cantonal doctor’s services made a blunder by sending a grouped and non-anonymized email to more than 300 unvaccinated. Faintness.

The recipients had just arrived, or returned, in Switzerland.


“Thank you for the lack of confidentiality. Thank you for the disclosure of emails. And thank you for the responses that I receive every hour… ”This reader does not take offense, after the error made on Monday morning by the services of the Vaud cantonal doctor, who sent a group message to more than 300 people while failing to hide the addresses mails from recipients. The content reminded them that they had to perform a Covid screening within 4 to 7 days after returning from their trip, an obligation that only concerns those who are not vaccinated. (or not healed). “With the current ford-war between vaccinated and unvaccinated, disclosing the addresses of those who are not is really rubbish. It just makes you want to defraud and not to do this test, ”is still annoyed by our witness, who was returning from a business trip.

Worse: after this blunder, some recipients began to comment using the “reply to all” option, thus increasing the inconvenience and the feeling of being spammed. “I called Tuesday to get an explanation. While trying to cover up and hush up the thing, the person apologized and admitted that it was unacceptable. But at 11:30 am, I still hadn’t received a written apology from them. ”

“I share with them my joy to be here … and my personal data!”

“I arrived this weekend to visit my favorite country, Switzerland, in turn tells a tourist. Confident and perhaps a little naive, I provided my contact details to the Swiss authorities in order to fulfill my civil obligations. Today, I not only share my joy to be here with dozens of people, but also my personal data! All kindly provided by the Vaud administration… ”comments this holidaymaker with irony and bitterness. “People are shocked,” she continues, referring to the continual exchange of messages between recipients. And, she too is surprised not to have seen any reaction from the Canton: “It seems that the problem is being ignored.”

Another reader does not understand that such a quack could emanate from the administration. “It’s incredible! But I’m not more worried than that. What would other recipients do with my email address? Personally, I haven’t watched them. But this lack of confidentiality is still enormous, ”she underlines, also surprised not to have received anything from the Canton. It was not until Tuesday afternoon that the authorities finally contacted the recipients of the message in question to apologize.

“A group e-mail sending in which the names of the recipients was apparent was indeed done on Monday morning, which we regret. This is an isolated human error for which we apologize, ”commented the Vaud Health and Social Action Department (DSAS). The communication manager specifies that, as soon as the error was noticed, an e-mail reminder procedure was launched. “Unfortunately, some recipients may have seen the list of other recipients in the meantime.” A reminder where, again according to our readers, the addresses of the other recipients were once again visible to all …

Possible complaint?

The DSAS intends to review its procedures to prevent such an error from recurring. But what risk does the Canton risk if one of the injured parties files a complaint? A priori, not much. Such non-anonymized grouped sending may fall under both the Data Protection Act but also, emanating from the cantonal doctor’s services, the penal standard on official secrecy and medical secrecy.

“In such a case, and even if the disclosure is obviously involuntary, we cannot exclude from the outset the applicability of the criminal law governing official secrecy, from the point of view of possible fraud. The same applies to the Vaud data protection provision, which punishes the unlawful disclosure of personal data with a fine. However, disagreeable and regrettable as it may be, this revelation is difficult to consider as likely to generate economic damage liable to a request for compensation or moral damage ”, details Me Nicolas Capt, Geneva lawyer specialized in data protection.


Covid19 Vaud leaks hundreds emails

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