The details of more than 8,000 students were sent out by Student Finance England as part of a mass email distribution following a blunder by staff. Last night, the agency apologised for the error which they put down an administrative error. It has since contacted all students involved to assure them that “no other personal” data was shared. But privacy campaigners warned that the breach illustrated the dangers of storing personal details on electronic databases. It comes just weeks after Scotland Yard admitted sharing the email addresses of more than 1,000 victims of crime with other victims. Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, the privacy and civil liberties group, said: “Just because this information didn’t contain bank details, it doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to people. “The fact is that email addresses are increasingly the primary mode of communication for most people. Who knows where it could end up once it is in the public domain? “If you were to go to a credit reference agency and say, ‘I have the email addresses of 8,000 people in receipt of student finance, would you find it interesting?’. Of course they would.” The Student Loans Company – an arms length public body overseen by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – took over responsibility from local councils for delivering student grants in 2009. It distributes means-tested awards through its Student Finance England subsidiary. On Monday, it emailed more than 8,000 students – due to start university this autumn – to remind them to complete grant application forms. The message was sent to students who had started but failed to complete an online application. However, staff inadvertently included an attachment listing the email addresses of all students on the distribution list. In statement, the Student Loans Company apologies for the blunder, adding: “The information was sent in error and only included email addresses, no other personal student data was shared. “We have contacted all customers affected to let them know about this issue. “The integrity and security of student accounts and the protection of personal information is vital to us and we apologise to all of the students involved.” The security breach is the latest error by the agency. In both 2009 and 2010, it was criticised by MPs after around undergraduates were forced to start university without cash for rent, books or food because of delays distributing grants and loans.