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Council apologises over internet safety blunder on planning portal

People were given incorrect internet security advice as issues affected Reading Borough Council's planning website for days on end. <i>(Image: Firmbee from Pixabay)</i>
People were given incorrect internet security advice as issues affected Reading Borough Council's planning website for days on end. (Image: Firmbee from Pixabay)

Reading Borough Council has apologised for an internet safety blunder for people trying to access its planning website.

For over a week, the council’s planning portal has been inaccessible for residents using Google Chrome.

Council staff had advised those wishing to use the planning portal to change security settings from only using HTTPS links to allowing HTTP links as well.

But residents complained about the need to change settings on social media.

On X/Twitter, a council tweet had a ‘Community Note’ attached to it stating that HTTP is an ‘insecure protocol’ and that advising users to turn off their security ‘is bad’ as it could lead to their private information being leaked.

Reading Chronicle: A Reading Borough Council tweet advising people to change their security settings to access its planning website, with a Community Note advising against turning off their security.
Reading Chronicle: A Reading Borough Council tweet advising people to change their security settings to access its planning website, with a Community Note advising against turning off their security.

A Reading Borough Council tweet advising people to change their security settings to access its planning website, with a Community Note advising against turning off their security. (Image: @ReadingCouncil X/Twitter)

The tweet was posted on Friday, November 24. Two days later on Sunday, the council tweeted that the planning website had been taken offline due to technical issues.

READ MORE: Council tell users to turn off security setting to access its website

Now the council has confirmed that the issue has been resolved following an update to the planning website.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Council’s Planning Portal is back online with a secure connection restored at 10:08am on Monday, November 27 following the successful completion of remedial work.

“A Planning Portal website update was required as access from some internet browsers was being blocked.

“We apologise for the obvious inconvenience and confusion caused and the portal should now be fully operational with no special action on the part of users being necessary. ”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has used the Microsoft Edge browser over the last few weeks to gain access to the planning portal without issue.