Feeds

Council punished over theft of laptops from locked room

They forgot the sign saying 'Beware of The Leopard'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has taken action against a local authority which lost two laptop computers, despite the fact that they were stored in a locked office and password-protected.

The ICO has found that the Council was in breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA) and The Highland Council has signed formal undertakings promising to encrypt all mobile devices.

The laptops contained personal details on 1,400 people and included medical information on some of them. The computers were password protected and stored in a locked office, but they were not encrypted. The ICO said that "no additional physical security measures were in place".

"The stolen laptops contained sensitive personal information, including health records," said Ken Macdonald, assistant commissioner. "I urge all councils and their executive teams to ensure that data protection is treated as an important part of corporate governance. Safeguarding sensitive personal information must be embedded in their organisational culture. No public body can afford to take risks with personal details, least of all health records."

A formal undertaking signed by Council chief executive Alistair Dodds commits the Council to encrypting all mobile devices containing personal data by the end of September.

Many of the data breaches involving public bodies in recent months and years have involved lost machines or devices taken from clearly vulnerable locations. The formal undertakings, though, suggest that simply locking computers in a room is not good enough for the ICO.

The undertakings orders the Council to ensure that "physical security measures and procedures are adequate to prevent the theft of devices that contain personal data, the loss of which could cause damage or distress to individuals".

The ICO can ask companies that have breached the DPA to undertake certain behaviour that it thinks will fix the problem. It cannot yet take direct action against companies or organisations for breaches of the eight principles underlying the DPA.

The ICO will be given powers by Government to issue direct fines to organisations whose behaviour represents a knowing or reckless breach of the principles.

Though the extent of the fines is not yet known OUT-LAW.COM revealed this week that the new powers will come into effect in April 2010.

The council's formal undertaking can be read here (pdf).

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.