Genes Reunited: data theft

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annpa
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:44 pm
Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Genes Reunited: data theft

Post by annpa » Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:52 pm

Yes, I know the title is a bit strong, but I am so mad that I have to get it off my chest.
I have been a member of Genes Reunited since the beginning and very happy with it, until today.

This is a copy of my email to the Abuse Manager at Genes Reunited. I have here omitted the name of the person concerned. ( I don't know why I'm protecting the guilty )

My data has been stolen.

I received an email through GR on 20 10 2006 from a xxxxx xxxxx asking about an Alexander Fraser. I did not answer it at the time, and only picked it up today (30 3 2007). I had not answered him, neither had I given him access to my tree. but when I noticed his email today I saw that he had given me access to his. I had a look at it and was astounded to find that it consisted of MY data.

How can he have obtained this data and been able to download it?.

You say that our data is safe and is only available to those persons to whom we give access. I am extremely distressed about this. I do not like the idea of details of my family being accessible to all and sundry. I only joined GR as you promised that our data would be safe. I am happy to answer queries about possible matches of individuals, but there should be no way that anyone can access my whole tree unless I give them access.

And as regards the tree of this xxxxx xxxxxxxx, it contains all my data, not just my relatives and ancestors, but also those of my husband. There is NO WAY AT ALL that this Peter Morrison could be connected with my relatives and also with my husband's relatives.

His tree contains MY DATA and only my data. There is nothing else. This could only have happened with a download, but that is not supposed to be allowed to happen.

Please sort this out, and DELETE xxxxx xxxxxxxx's TREE FROM THE SYSTEM.


Sorry about this rant, but I am so annoyed I could spit. I would cancel my membership but I have found the site very helpful and have got several very interesting contacts through this site, on my side as well as my husband's.
I probably could have written a more coherent letter to GR but could not wait until I had cooled down.

Enjoy GR but be aware that this kind of thing can (and does) happen.
[size=75] Annpa Fincher seeking
[b]FARQUHAR[/b] Paisley, Glenlivet;
[b]CASEY, CRAMPSEY, KELLY, CROSSAN[/b] Glasgow, Stirlingshire, Lanarkshire;
[b]SPARKS[/b] Inverness-shire, Glasgow, Norwich;
[b]MATHESON[/b] Banff, Ross[/size]

garibaldired
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:42 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Post by garibaldired » Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:16 pm

Annpa,
I sympathise. I have had two contacts who have asked to view my tree when we've been trying to work out possible connections and have then transferred the whole of my tree to theirs. Neither have remained in touch. Every time I see these contacts showing loads of matches I get furious all over again!
I'm afraid it seems to be a numbers' game with some people.
Regards,
Meg
Main family lines are Harpers from Midlothian, Fife & Kinross-shire, and Dobies/Dobbies from Midlothian. Also Strathearn, Stobie, Layden and Downie.

emanday
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Location: Born in Glasgow: now in Bristol
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Post by emanday » Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:33 pm

Hi Annpa,

I was horrified to read this. I have access to several trees on GR, and have given similar access to mine only to those people. How this individual managed to download it beggars belief.

Two of my contacts and I had a laugh about having to either email our trees to each other or sit there and transcribe them. Not an easy task, as they are pretty big. We all agreed that, while it is for our protection that "allowed" viewers can see our trees but not download the gedcom file, sometimes we wished that facility was there, albeit with permission required.

If he has somehow managed to hack his way into this, then GR better get the hole closed pretty smart.
[b]Mary[/b]
A cat leaves pawprints on your heart
McDonald or MacDonald (some couldn't make up their mind!), Bonner, Crichton, McKillop, Campbell, Cameron, Gitrig (+other spellings), Clark, Sloan, Stewart, McCutcheon, Ireland (the surname)

annpa
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:44 pm
Location: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Post by annpa » Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:52 pm

mary, thanks for your kind words.

I know that when you give someone access to your tree, you have no control over what they do with it. That's the choice you make.

But to find someone with ALL my data who was NOT given access to my tree, (in fact I had not even replied to his information request,) was a complete blow.

I'll have to wait for GR's reply before I do anything else about it.

All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Annpa
[size=75] Annpa Fincher seeking
[b]FARQUHAR[/b] Paisley, Glenlivet;
[b]CASEY, CRAMPSEY, KELLY, CROSSAN[/b] Glasgow, Stirlingshire, Lanarkshire;
[b]SPARKS[/b] Inverness-shire, Glasgow, Norwich;
[b]MATHESON[/b] Banff, Ross[/size]

JimM
Posts: 304
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:11 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by JimM » Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:37 pm

annpa wrote:But to find someone with ALL my data who was NOT given access to my tree, (in fact I had not even replied to his information request,) was a complete blow.
Hi Annpa
Theft of your personal data is covered by “Computer Misuse act of 1990”
If the person is a UK resident you could try sending them a strongly worded email (copied to GR) demanding he removes your data from his tree.
Worth a try?

Jim
researching
McIntyre, Menzies, Cowley, Pearson, Copland, McCammond, Forbes, Edgar etc. in Scotland
Skinner in Northumberland

Tom-W
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 11:09 am

Post by Tom-W » Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:16 pm

Hi Annpa

I've been following some of the threads on the GR message boards since they updated the system and something similar has been reported by others. It appears that there is a blip in the system that means when you try to view another persons tree it is your OWN tree that you see by default.

I can't test it out as I let my membership lapse (and won't be renewing judging by the ongoing problems with the site!) but hopefully the fact that others are reporting the same thing will reassure you a bit.

Regards
Tom

Cathy
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 12:43 pm

Post by Cathy » Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:41 pm

Hi Tom,
you are correct about "seeing your own tree".
I have just joined GR, and tried to view the tree of someone who contacted me.
Cathy

emanday
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Location: Born in Glasgow: now in Bristol
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Post by emanday » Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:55 pm

Hi Tom,

Yes it is your own tree you see by default, even if you have clicked on the "View" by the owner's name in your contact list. Once that opens, you have to click on the box, top right, to select the name of the owner of the tree you want to view. It then accesses that tree.
[b]Mary[/b]
A cat leaves pawprints on your heart
McDonald or MacDonald (some couldn't make up their mind!), Bonner, Crichton, McKillop, Campbell, Cameron, Gitrig (+other spellings), Clark, Sloan, Stewart, McCutcheon, Ireland (the surname)

Jean Jeanie
Global Moderator
Posts: 1288
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:54 pm
Location: Stafford West Mids

Post by Jean Jeanie » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:24 pm

Hi Annpa

I was very interested to read your post. I have been a member of GR for over 2 years now.

Two days ago I received an e mail from "someone" saying they had given me access to their tree. I didn't recognise her name at all. The e mail referred to a John Smith b. 1798. With a name like Smith and the very small parish in Aberdeen my Smith's came from I was more than interested. I went straight to her tree as she had given access to it and there were all my Smiths and all my family right down to me! I was so excited. As I said I didn't recognise her name at all. I immediately sent her an e mail asking her what the connection was as I had no recollection of being in touch with her.

A little later I looked at the Gr site again (I couldn't belive that I had not been in touch with her before as I keep a very tight rein on who I have been in touch with and why) Again I could see her tree but no sign of my Smiths and any of my family.

To date I have not received a reply from this lady. From reading your post I reckon there has been a serious glitch on the GR site. This lady must think I am mad. She must be wondering what the heck I am going on about. BTW I can still see her tree and the people on it are not related to me in any way.
Makes we wonder how many others can now see my tree!!!!!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

What do we do now :?: :?: :?:

I am now a bit more than concerned :twisted:

Jean

emanday
Global Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:50 am
Location: Born in Glasgow: now in Bristol
Contact:

Post by emanday » Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:43 pm

Worrying development!

I've been playing around on GR

Right now, on another tab in IE, I am looking at what GR says is my tree. It most certainly is not!

No way do I have 19,184 names in my tree!

http://talkingscot.com/gallery/displayi ... ?pos=-1152

I am now more than a little concerned about the integrity of the GR system.
[b]Mary[/b]
A cat leaves pawprints on your heart
McDonald or MacDonald (some couldn't make up their mind!), Bonner, Crichton, McKillop, Campbell, Cameron, Gitrig (+other spellings), Clark, Sloan, Stewart, McCutcheon, Ireland (the surname)

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