Other revelations could be even more dangerous, such as the shocking case in the summer where a freedom of information request led to the leak of the names and addresses of Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers, with the information being published online long enough to fall into the hands of dissident Republican groups who may target them.
Data security companies can be instrumental in preventing such leaks. As well as operating to the highest standards of confidentiality and professionalism, they can also implement systems that guard against the kind of accidental release of data like the PSNI incident.
Of course, many leaks do not place people at risk of death or serious physical harm, but other risks such as fraud and data theft caused by the release of personal and financial details are a real concern.
If you are collating documentary data, it may be that in some cases it is less likely to contain such sensitive information. For example, if it relates to heritage records that concern the past, historic buildings and events, or people who have long since died, there is clearly no risk to anyone around now. For that reason, criminals are unlikely to target such databases.
What is required, therefore, is for anyone wanting documented data to be digitised to engage with experts who can assess what information can be freely accessible with no risk and which data has to be kept very secure.
In his criticisms of organisations that had compromised the safety of domestic violence and abuse victims, Mr Edwards said: “Getting the basics right is simple – thorough training, double checking records and contact details, restricting access to information – all these things reduce the risk of even greater harm.”
However, to truly ensure that you have covered all the bases, not least when there are cyber-criminals who will seek to hack databases, extract information through phishing emails and infect digital systems with ransomware, you need to make sure you work with a data management firm that can handle these threats.