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Devon NHS trust left data of 1,373 staff online for MONTHS

Must cough £175k for opening employees to ID fraud, ICO sniffs

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A painful £175,000 fine has been slapped on a health trust in Torquay, Devon, after it published sensitive details of nearly 1,400 employees on its website.

The Information Commissioner's Office issued the penalty, following the embarrassing incident that took place in April 2011.

A spreadsheet containing the information was mistakenly published by staff at Torbay Care Trust for 19 weeks before a member of the public alerted it of the data protection cockup.

"The data covered the equality and diversity responses of 1,373 staff and included individuals’ names, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers, along with sensitive information about the person’s religion and sexuality," the ICO said.

The data watchdog noted that the trust had no safeguards in place to prevent such information being published online. It said staff hadn't been offered any guidance on handling such information and added that there were inadequate checks in place to spot potential problems.

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said:

We regular [sic] speak with organisations across the health service to remind them of the need to look after people’s data. The fact that this breach was caused by Torbay Care Trust publishing sensitive information about their staff is extremely troubling and was entirely avoidable. Not only were they giving sensitive information out about their employees but they were also leaving them exposed to the threat of identity fraud.

The ICO added that the trust had now introduced a web management policy to prevent such data protection cockups in the future. ®

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