By Carol Vaughn —
The email addresses of around 1,800 people or businesses who had applied for a building permit in the past in Accomack County were improperly disseminated after a routine upgrade to the computer application the county uses to handle permitting.
The application apparently generated the emails, incorrectly, to previous permit applicants during an upgrade Wednesday, Sept. 22, according to Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason.
A subsequent email sent to the recipients, advising them to ignore the automatically generated email, “should not have been disseminated in the the manner that it was,” Mason said in an email Thursday.
The second email, from an employee in the Department of Building, Planning, and Economic Development, reads in part, “Our system today has fired off a series of emails showing incorrect inspection results. Please disregard any email received today only from [email protected] We are working to correct this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience. If there is truly an issue with your permit, staff will be contacting you directly.”
Accomack County issued this statement about the incident Friday:
“As the result of a recent upgrade to the County’s “ACCESS Online Permit Portal”, system-generated emails were incorrectly sent out to all registered users, current and past, of this application. The emails contained erroneous information and should be ignored.
“In our efforts to quickly communicate that the system-generated emails were sent in error, follow-up emails were sent by the County on September 22, 2021, to the 1800 impacted individuals. The emails that were sent did not follow the County’s Acceptable Use Policy. As such, email addresses were visible to other recipients in the email messages, which is not in accordance with our established protocols. No other personal information was shared. We are unaware of any actual misuse of the email addresses or any other information related to the user accounts in the system. We apologize for any and all inconvenience these messages may have caused. No action is required by the recipients of the County email.
“The County will continue to monitor both the system-generated messages from the permitting software platform and any further digital communication to ensure that all personal information including email addresses is protected.
“Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please call 757-787-5721 on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or after hours, you can leave a message with your contact information and we will respond to assist you.
“Again, we apologize for the email messages and any confusion that may have been caused.”
The statement is posted on the county website, https://www.co.accomack.va.us/