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The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has found the British Council in breach of the Data Protection Act after the loss of an unencrypted computer disc

Details lost include sensitive personal information relating to trade union membership of over 2,000 members of staff.

The British Council reported the data breach to the ICO as soon as it was aware it had taken place.

In response, the ICO has required the orgnisation to sign a formal undertaking of reasonable measures to keep personal information secure in future. These include ensuring that all portable and mobile devices which are used to store and transmit personal information must be encrypted, with immediate effect.

The Undertaking has been signed on behalf of the British Council by the chief executive, Martin Davidson.

Mick Gorrill, assistant information commissioner at the ICO, said: "The British Council proactively reported the breach to the ICO and took immediate remedial action which demonstrates its understanding of the seriousness of this data loss. The Data Protection Act clearly states that organisations must take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information is kept secure.

"The organisation also agrees to ensure that its policies on the transfer and sharing of personal information on portable devices are clear and compliant with government standards."

Failure to meet the terms of the undertaking would lead to further enforcement action by the ICO.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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