In perspective, for a large number of us it doesn't matter one jot what is hidden in metatags and whatever else they are called. As far as the government and any/all of its associated services are concerned, they should have known better. The extra information added to M$ Office documents is no secret - there are knowledge base articles about it going back some considerable time. If it is of such concern to the authorities, government, MI5, MI6 and any other dim or dismal official department it is their responsibility to find these things out - it doesn't take much effort as we can see.
this has been known about for ages - and unless you are in the habit of working collaboratively on documents with other people, and then distributing the documents electronically it won't affect you at all.
Any Network supervisor worth his/her salt certainly knows about it, and I'm astonished that government departments didn't.
Whether the effect referred to here is a fault in the system of not depends very much on your point of view and if you're on the receiving end of any adverse effects.
The metadata system is no secret, as has been pointed out, and just because persons in so called authority have been caught out by the incompetence of their minions doesn't make the system wrong, just the users.
"There is a function in many versions of Microsoft Office programs, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, that means that fragments of data (which Microsoft refers to as metadata) from other files you deleted or were working on at the same time could be hidden in any document you save."
"Occasionally it revealed very personal information such as social security numbers that are beloved of criminals who specialise in identity theft."
"Also available was useful information about the internal network the document travelled through, which could be useful to anyone looking for a route into a network."
three sentnces from the news report. -pops- i think it is more serious than we think. i have sent documents in this way not knowing of this serious fault in the software. i expect something i pay for to work as i would expect it too and not in the shoddy way that microsoft make thier products work. or in some cases not work. how many updates and security patches have we had?
of course things could be better, we could have a serious alternative to microsoft!!