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Millions of Turks’ personal data exposed on a website: report

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The personal data of millions of Turkish citizens, including their addresses, phone numbers and property ownership information, has been exposed on an internet website, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Friday, raising serious concerns about data security.

DW said that another data breach has been added to the list of information leaks in Turkey’s state institutions with the revelation that the internet website Sorgu.live has started openly publishing the personal data of millions of people residing in Turkey.

Individuals who become free members of the website can access the family and mobile phone information of any Turkish citizen they want, while “VIP” members have the additional capability of obtaining the e-school records, official identification documents, property details, addresses and Turkish ID information of the targeted individuals.

According to DW, politicians such as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and Turkish ministers are among the individuals whose data is openly accessible.

Speaking to DW about the issue, digital rights expert Yaman Akdeniz emphasized the need for more secure protection of highly sensitive personal data, considering its vital importance

“If systems like [Turkey’s] e-government [website] are to be used, then it is essential to securely store these data and to address any vulnerabilities. The public officials who are responsible for this leak should now be investigated,” Akdeniz said.

He added that access to the website should be blocked and citizens should be warned that their personal data can be utilized for defrauding them and other similar malicious purposes.

Journalist ibrahim Haskoloğlu also claimed last year that a hacker group infiltrated Turkey’s e-government website and other government-related sites and had access to the identity and other personal information of Turkish citizens, including those of President Erdoğan and then-National Intelligence Organization (MİT) undersecretary  and current foreign minister Hakan Fidan.

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