Data breaches in the headlines
Wednesday, 06 June 2012
Public bodies have once again hit the headlines over the past couple of weeks, as the Information Commissioner has issued more fines for breaches of data protection obligations.
Telford and Wrekin Council has been hit with a £90,000 fine following two separate but similar incidents of unauthorised data disclosures. In each case, sensitive personal data about vulnerable children was disclosed in breach of the Data Protection Act. In
one of the cases, that resulted in the need to move a child between foster homes. The two incidents were not only very similar but took place in very close succession, two factors which the ICO commented on specifically.
In a separate incident, the Information Commissioner has issued its biggest fine yet. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust was fined £325,000 after an IT worker, who had been appointed to securely destroy one thousand hard drives, instead sold
them online. The hard drives were sold without the data stored on them being removed which meant that extremely sensitive information about both hospital patients and staff was the subject of an unauthorised disclosure.
The seriousness of these unauthorised disclosures and the substantial fines which the Commissioner has issued as a result, demonstrate very clearly, the importance of making sure that data, especially sensitive data, is properly managed and handled. This means
that IT security and properly managing staff who have access to sensitive information are of paramount importance in order to avoid incidents such as this and the financial cost and damage to reputation which quite clearly follow this kind of breach.
For further information about any data protection or other commercial law issues, please contact Luisa D'Alessandro on 0161 833 9211 or at
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of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.