UNESCO Online Application Platform: Privacy Breach Discovered

    A sign at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization headquarters in Paris, France. Photo by: Albertus Teolog

    UNESCO job applicants past and present beware: Until Thursday (April 28), it was possible for anyone registered with the agency’s online application platform to access personal information about other UNESCO applicants, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine reports.

    Simply by modifying URLs, it was possible for anyone registered with the agency’s online platform to find application material submitted between 2006 and 2011 by hundreds of thousands of other applicants, including for full-time and internship positions, according to Der Spiegel. An internship applicant informed the U.N. agency of the privacy issue last month, but got no response; UNESCO did respond to Der Spiegel on April 27, but took two databases offline only after the magazine published an initial version of its article.

    Such privacy issues could potentially prompt identity theft, cyber attacks or espionage, Der Spiegel suggests.

    What do you think about the privacy policies of multilateral and other aid organizations? Please leave a comment below!

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    • Rolf Rosenkranz

      Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.