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Council fined for randomly emailing personal data

£120k slap for slipshod Surrey

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Surrey County Council has been fined £120,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office for breaking the Data Protection Act.

The council was rapped for three separate offences. Firstly, in May last year it sent mental and physical health information on 241 individuals to the wrong group email address. Recipients included cab and coach firms.

The council tried to recall the email but was unable to verify what happened to the information. The file was not encrypted or password protected.

Soon after that incident in June, the council sent a second email containing personal data on several individuals to 100 people who had registered for a council newsletter.

Then in January of this year, Surrey's Children Services department sent confidential sensitive information, including health information, to the wrong internal group email list.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said the council had paid the price for failing to handle sensitive data appropriately or to have security measures in place.

Surrey Council has since added an alert function when sensitive information is sent to an external email address. It has also improved staff training.

The ICO statement is here. ®

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