Personal files exposed at Haifa archives

Sensitive financial and personal information on hundreds of Haifa residents was left exposed for anyone to see at the municipal archives in the basement of the Beit Knesset Hagadol in the Hadar neighborhood, reports Among the thousands of documents in hundreds of files are requests for property tax reductions, salary slips, private bank account and credit card statements, and marital and medical details. According to the report, the archives contain documents spanning many years to as recently as 2007, and are kept in a 300-square-meter room in the synagogue's basement. The huge room is lined from floor to ceiling with shelves packed with documents organized neatly into categories such as business licenses or property tax reductions. The report said a reporter spent two hours wandering unhindered through the unlocked, unguarded room, peeking into files and even leaving the building with some of them and returning later to put them back. The report said city officials were surprised to learn that the room was open for anyone to enter, and quickly sent a team to board it up and to place a "No Entry" sign in front of the boards. A spokesman said the archives were normally locked and guarded, but had apparently been opened without the city's knowledge during renovations done in the basement by a private contractor. The spokesman said the breach was "grave" and the city manager had ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.