Six months on from HMRC, data losses still rising, says ICO

Disappointed by apparent learning failure

Identity

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas is again telling UK companies to sort out their data protection systems as the number of reported losses of private information keeps on growing.

Since Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs lost a copy of the entire child benefit database six months ago the regulator has been told about almost 100 data breaches by government organisations and private companies.

Richard Thomas said it was disappointing that HMRC's massive data loss had not had a bigger impact. He said: "The government, banks and other organisations need to regain the public's trust by being far more careful with people's personal information. Once again I urge business and public sector leaders to make data protection a priority in their organisation... the evidence shows that more must be done to eradicate inexcusable security breaches."

Half of the losses from the private sector came from financial services companies. In the public sector one third of data losses came from central government and a fifth from the NHS.

The ICO is still investigating the losses, but in 16 cases has told organisations to change procedures. In three cases the information was recovered. ®

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