A Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) national recruiter exposed sensitive information including locations, phone numbers, and emails of more than 1,300 American University students following a virtual job fair on May 15.

The recruiter emailed students with information on frontline law enforcement positions but attached a spreadsheet with the full registration information of what appears to be each student that they contacted. Shortly after, the recruiter sent a follow-up email to recall the message.

A CBP spokesperson confirmed to MeriTalk that they became aware of the “unintentional disclosure of personally identifiable information for a limited number of potential CBP job applicants” on May 18. A supervisory CBP office contacted affected students to address the exposure, saying that “the list of participants was mistakenly attached to this email” and that CBP is in talks with the American University about the issue, per an email obtained by MeriTalk.

While students have since been notified of the exposure, the CBP spokesperson said that the investigation is still ongoing as of May 20 and “additional steps will be assessed to ensure minimal impact to those affected.”

“Safeguarding information is essential to our mission and our role as a law enforcement agency, and CBP is taking additional steps to ensure that sensitive information is protected from accidental disclosure,” the spokesperson said.

An official from the American University’s Career Center contacted affected students on May 19 to request that they delete the original email containing sensitive information. “We have been in touch with senior staff at CBP and have been assured that they too are treating it very seriously,” the official said in the correspondence obtained by MeriTalk.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.