Feeds

Barnet and West Sussex breach DPA

Unencrypted USB, CDs AWOL with 9,000 kids' details

The Power of One Infographic

The Information Commissioner's Office has taken action against Barnet and West Sussex councils after the theft of IT containing sensitive data about children.

The watchdog said that personal information about children had been lost by the two authorities because of a "systemic" lack of staff IT training. Both councils were found to have breached the Data Protection Act.

In the case of LB Barnet, an unencrypted, non-password protected USB stick and CDs containing sensitive personal information about more than 9,000 children and their families were stolen from the home of a staff member.

According to the ICO, the employee had downloaded the data onto the unencrypted devices without authorisation. But it was later discovered that Barnet provided neither training nor security to prevent such downloads.

Before the incident, the ICO had conducted an audit of the north London authority that highlighted a lack of staff training.

A similar incident occurred at West Sussex CC when a laptop with personal information about an unknown number of children involved in childcare proceedings was taken from the home of an employee.

Again the laptop was unencrypted and enquiries by the ICO revealed that the employee had received no formal training on data protection or IT security.

The ICO also found that more than 2,300 unencrypted laptops were likely to be in use across West Sussex's various services, although steps are now being taken to encrypt these.

Barnet and West Sussex have now signed formal agreements to ensure that staff will be made fully aware of their respective policies for the storage and use of personal data.

Furthermore, the authorities have undertaken to provide training on data protection and IT security and to ensure that portable devices used to store sensitive information are encrypted.

Sally-Anne Poole, enforcement group manager at the ICO, said: "These councils have shown a poor regard for the importance of protecting children's personal information.

"It is essential that councils ensure the correct preventative safeguards are in place when storing and transferring personal information, especially when it concerns sensitive information relating to children.

"A lack of awareness and training in data protection requirements can lead to personal information falling into the wrong hands."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.