Legal Updates

Data Protection - ICO Penalty – Council – Stoke-on-Trent – Sensitive Personal Data – Encryption – Data Protection Act 1998

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) recently sent out another reminder to organisations of the importance of data encryption.

 

This reminder comes off the back of a serious breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the “DPA”) by Stoke-on-Trent Council, where the council received a penalty of £120,000 for a breach which led to sensitive information about a child protection legal case being emailed to the wrong person. This was considered to be a serious breach of the DPA.

In a statement made by the ICO’s Head of Enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, it was clearly stated that “If this data had been encrypted then the information would have stayed secure.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is reminding organisations that sensitive personal information should be encrypted when being stored and sent electronically.

The news comes as Stoke-on-Trent City Council receives a monetary penalty of £120,000 following a serious breach of the Data Protection Act that led to sensitive information about a child protection legal case being emailed to the wrong person. 

In total, 11 emails were wrongly sent by a solicitor at the council. It transpired from the ICO’s investigation that the council did have guidance in place dictating that sensitive data should be sent over a secure network or encrypted. However, where the council failed was to provide the legal department with encryption software as well as relevant training.

Further details about this can be found on the ICO’s website, here.

You may contact us by email enquiries@rtcooperssolicitors.com. Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_dataprotection.php

© RT COOPERS, 2012. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

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