Legal Update - Incorrect Disposal of Personal Data

Data Protection – Incorrect Disposal of Personal Data – Breach of Data Protection


Following a breach of the Data Protection Act (“DPA”) by Thamesview Estate Agents in London, sanctions have been imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”).


Sheets of paper containing the personal information of customers had been left on the street in transparent bags, despite a previous warning from the ICO in December 2013 after a complaint was made about the same issue. The warning instructed the estate agents to improve its compliance with the DPA by securely disposing of the information.


In March 2014, a second complaint was made to the ICO. The ICO Head of Enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said:


“Customers of Thamesview Estate Agents will be rightly concerned that their information was left on a street for all to see. The papers visible to the public included copies of customer’s passports and details of previous tax payments. This could be all a fraudster would need to steal someone’s identity.” 


“Despite a previous warning from our office, the company failed to address this issue. This is why we’ve served the business with an undertaking committing them to improving the way they handle their customers’ information.” 


In light of the ICO’s investigation, Thamesview Estate Agents have signed an undertaking that commits all of its branches to the correct disposal of personal information and the introduction of refresher training for all staff members by 31 December 2014.It must also put in place formal contracts with any companies used to destroy documents containing customers’ information as the ICO had found that there were no such contracts in place.


How can we help?


Whether you are a start up or an established business, RT Coopers can assist you in meeting your obligations under the Data Protection Act. We conduct audits on businesses’ operations in order to determine specific weaknesses to be considered by data controllers. Once these are identified, we would advise you on the remedial measures you should put in place.


You may contact us by email Visit



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© RT COOPERS, 2014. 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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