Feeds

Kent Police fined £100k for leaving interview vids of informants in old cop shop

Crimewatch Uncut screenings binned after cockup discovered

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Kent Police have been fined £100,000 after interview tapes and other confidential information were found abandoned at a former police station.

The highly sensitive information, including records going back to the 1980s, was left in the basement of a former police station when it was vacated in July 2009.

The cock-up was discovered when a police officer was visiting a business owner about an unrelated matter on November 2012, when he noticed a pile of tapes with a Kent Police logo stuck on them.

"The business owner confirmed that he had found the tapes in the basement of the old police station, after purchasing the site two months before, and was planning on watching them for entertainment," a statement by data privacy watchdogs at the ICO explains.

Hundreds of additional documents and evidence tapes were recovered the following day when police visited. The information trove included recorded interviews with police informants, victims of crime and suspects who had subsequently been convicted. The documents also included information about police staff.

A subsequent ICO investigation faulted Kent Police for the absence of any guidance or procedures in place to make sure personal information was securely removed from former police premises. The problem was exacerbated as the result of an apparent breakdown in communications between the various departments involved in the move.

The ICO's head of enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said: “If this information had fallen into the wrong hands the impact on people’s lives would have been enormous and damaging. These tapes and files included extremely sensitive and confidential information relating to individuals, many of whom had been involved in serious and violent crimes. How a police force could leave such information unattended in a basement for several years is difficult to understand.”

“Ultimately,” Eckersley continued, “this breach was a result of a clear lack of oversight, information governance and guidance from Kent Police which led to sensitive information being abandoned. It is only good fortune that the mistake was uncovered when it was and the information hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands.” ®

Bootnote

The ICO redacted the name of the cop shop at the heart of the matter in its ruling against the Kent plod [PDF, point 4 on page 2], although the watchdog wasn't able to immediately explain why. We hazard a guess that the ex-cop shop is in Gravesend, seeing as it was the only station closed by the force in 2009 in the county, according to a Freedom of Information reply [PDF, table on page 2]. Apparently, that building was turned into a restaurant.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
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.