(follow-up) St Albans City and District Council takes action after voters’ details stolen

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found St Albans City and District Council in breach of the Data Protection Act. A laptop was stolen which was used to store postal voters’ records as part of an election process in June 2009.

The personal information, which was password protected but unencrypted, remained on the laptop when it was no longer required. At a later date it was left unsecured on a desk until it was discovered missing on 5 November 2009 along with three other laptop computers belonging to the council.

Daniel Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer for St Albans City and District Council, has now signed an Undertaking to ensure that steps are taken to ensure staff and contractors are made fully aware of security procedures and adequate checks will be carried out on contractors’ staff. The council has also agreed to encrypt laptops and other portable devices used to store and transmit personal data and appropriate physical security measures are put in place to prevent unauthorized access to it.

Sally-anne Poole, Head of Enforcement & Investigations at the ICO, said: “When organizations store large volumes of personal details on portable computers, encryption is essential. They must ensure staff and
contractors are trained to handle personal information securely to avoid the risk of information falling into the wrong hands. It is also crucial organizations don’t keep personal information for longer than is necessary. I am pleased that St Albans City and District Council has taken comprehensive remedial action including informing a number of the residents affected by the breach.”

A full copy of the Undertaking can be viewed here:

Source: Information Commissioner’s Office

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