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ICO wags finger at York council after data breach

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The Information Commissioner's Office has slapped York council for breaching the Data Protection Act, after sensitive information was wrongly collected from a shared printer and then redistributed.

The papers contained personal data that was sent to the wrong person, the ICO said today.

A York council worker failed to spot that the papers, which had been carelessly left on the printer, were unrelated to their case.

The ICO found that York council had "robust policies and procedures in place covering the handling of personal data" but said the printer gaffe "highlighted a lack of quality control".

It also said the council needed to improve its personal ownership and management supervision skills among its staff when it came to the handling of sensitive data.

"This case highlights the need for employees to take responsibility and ownership of tasks that involve handling personal data. If the documents had not been left unattended by the printer and had been carefully checked before they were sent out then this situation could easily have been avoided," said ICO acting head of enforcement Sally-Anne Poole.

The council's boss Kersten England inked an undertaking with the ICO to put new procedures in place to prevent documentation containing any form of personal data from being printed where "there is no business need to do so".

In addition, York council will introduce new quality control checks on all the information its employees handle prior to dishing out documentation to others.

York council is expected to have its new procedures in place by August this year, said the ICO. ®

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