Sensitive Scottish court records discovered at recycling bank

A press release from the UK ICO:

The Scottish Court Service breached the Data Protection Act by failing to take sufficient steps to prevent court documents containing sensitive personal details being accidentally disposed of at a local recycling bank in Glasgow, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today.

The ICO was first made aware of the breach when a Scottish newspaper published details of the discovery of files containing appeal documents on 25 September 2010. Subsequent checks by the ICO uncovered that the
papers had been lost by the editor of a series of law reports and that the court service had failed to check how this individual intended to keep the information secure.

The court service has now tightened its procedures around the handling of sensitive information by its staff and other people involved in the court process. The editor of the law reports has also agreed to improve the way in which court documents that include sensitive personal details are handled.

Ken Macdonald, Assistant Commissioner for Scotland at the ICO said:

“People involved in court cases should be able to feel confident that their personal and sensitive information is going to be kept secure and not taken outside of the court room. Had any of the papers in this case fallen
1 into the wrong hands, the privacy of the individuals concerned might have been threatened.

“I’m pleased that the Scottish Court Service has agreed to take a more hands-on approach to deal with data sharing in such cases and that staff will be trained appropriately to avoid this from happening in the future.”

Eleanor Emberson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service, has signed a formal undertaking to ensure that all staff are aware of the court service’s policy for the storage, use and disclosure or sharing of personal data. All staff will be appropriately trained and all parties involved in the sharing of data must sign up to a Memorandum of Understanding with the service.

A full copy of the Undertaking can be viewed here:

About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.