Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the theft of a citizenship database which allegedly contains the personal information of 49 million Turkish people, potentially making more than half of the population of the country vulnerable to identity theft and massive privacy violations.
The Associated Press said on Monday that it was able to partially verify the authenticity of the leak by running 10 nonpublic Turkish ID numbers against names contained in the dump. Eight were a match.
According to the report, the leaked database contains 49,611,709 entries and divulged considerable private information, putting people at risk of identity theft and fraud. Entries include data such as national ID numbers, addresses, birth dates and parents’ names.
Although Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım on Tuesday rejected claims about the theft of the Turkish citizenship database, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Wednesday that there is a need to investigate how the database was leaked, adding that the necessary legal action has been taken to this effect.
However, Bozdağ said Turkey made a revolution about the protection of personal data.
Among the leaks were reportedly personal information for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his predecessor Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The leak came with the message: “Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?”
In a message on the lessons to be learned by Turkey, the hackers said: “Bit shifting isn’t encryption.”
The message also targeted Erdoğan. “Do something about Erdoğan. He is destroying your country beyond recognition.”
The site appeared to be hosted by an Icelandic group specializing in divulging leaks, using servers in Romania, AP reported.