Feeds

Child abuse files stolen from council worker in PUB - £100k fine

Another council coughs £80k for HAND-DELIVERING kid's info to neighbour

High performance access to file storage

The UK's data protection watchdog has fined two English council bodies a total of £180,000 after finding they had failed to keep "highly sensitive information" about children secure.

Croydon Council was fined £100,000 after a bag containing papers about a child sex abuse court case was stolen from a social worker in a pub in April last year, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said.

Norfolk County Council was fined £80,000 after a social worker at the authority hand-delivered a report featuring "highly sensitive personal data about a child’s emotional and physical wellbeing, together with other personal information" to the wrong address.

The report was delivered to the next door neighbour of the intended recipient, also in April 2011, after the social worker wrote the wrong address down on the report, the ICO said. The ICO said that Croydon Council had failed to communicate its data protection guidance to staff and had inadequate checks in place to ensure it had been read and understood.

The council's policy on data security also did not include the requirement that sensitive personal data be kept secure when taken off-premises, the watchdog said.

The social worker at Norfolk County Council had failed to complete mandatory training in data protection and the authority did not have appropriate systems in place to check this, the ICO said. The council also failed to operate a system that requires colleagues to check each other's work to ensure sensitive information is sent to the right address, it said.

Both authorities have agreed to alter their data protection practices following the breaches.

“We appreciate that people working in roles where they handle sensitive information will – like all of us – sometimes have their bags stolen. However, this highly personal information needn’t have been compromised at all if Croydon Council had appropriate security measures in place," Stephen Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, said in a statement. “One of the most basic rules when disclosing highly sensitive information is to check and then double check that it is going to the right recipient. Norfolk County Council failed to have a system for this and also did not monitor whether staff had completed data protection training.

"While both councils acted swiftly to inform the people involved and have since taken remedial action, this does not excuse the fact that vulnerable children and their families should never have been put in this situation," he said.

Under the Data Protection Act, organisations in control of personal data are required to take "appropriate technical and organisational measures" to prevent "unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data". The Act requires extra care around the handling of sensitive personal data, such as information relating to individuals' "physical or mental health or condition". Under the Act the ICO has the power to issue fines of up to £500,000 for serious breaches of personal data.

Copyright © 2012, OUT-LAW.com

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.