U.K.: Incoming Spy Chief's Wife Posts Too Much Info on Facebook

By Matthew Harwood

Once again, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's embattled government has suffered another embarrassing security breach. This time, the wife of the incoming head of MI-6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, posted personal information and pictures of her husband, children, and friends on the popular social networking site, Facebook.

According to the The Mail on Sunday, a British tabloid:

Sir John Sawers is due to take over as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, putting him in charge of all Britain's spying operations abroad.

But his wife's entries on the social networking site have exposed potentially compromising details about where they live and work, who their friends are and where they spend their holidays.

Amazingly, she had put virtually no privacy protection on her account, making it visible to any of the site's 200million users who chose to be in the open-access 'London' network - regardless of where in the world they actually were.

There are fears that the hugely embarrassing blunder may have compromised the safety of Sir John's family and friends.

Possibly the biggest breach revealed by Sawers' wife, Lady Shelley, was the location of the couple's London flat, which the Telegraph says will "likely ... complicate security arrangements, at least in the short term."

Foreign Minister David Miliband, however, dismissed the Facebook posting.

“It is not a state secret that he wears Speedo swimming trunks,” Miliband said during a television interview. “The fact that there’s a picture that the head of MI6 goes swimming — wow, that really is exciting.”

The Mail on Sunday reported that all the information on Facebook was removed after it contacted MI-6. notes that the most embarrassing part of the information breach is that Sawers will be responsible for the government's new cybersecurity organization when he begins in November.

♦ Photo of Facebook privacy settings by Trucknroll/Flickr


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