Sep 222014

From the Information Commissioner’s Office:

An undertaking to comply with the seventh data protection principle has been signed by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.  This follows an investigation into two separate incidents involving disclosures of personal data.

The first reported incident involved a file containing personal data relating to approximately 4,200 service users being unintentionally placed on the internet during the process of creating a new website.  The Information Commissioner (the ‘Commissioner’) received a report on the 23 May 2013 which stated that during the process of creating a new website for the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Therapy, a file containing personal data, relating to approximately 4,200 registered users, was unintentionally placed on the internet. The personal data within the file included email address, username, password and billing address.  The website was developed by a third party, who acted as a data processor. The file containing the personal data was created in order to transfer customer  accounts from the old website to the new website, however the data processor unintentionally placed the file in an area of the new website which was publicly accessible. Further investigation highlighted that whilst a degree of human error occurred on the part of the processor there were other means by which the data could have been securely provided from the old developer to the new. It was also established that a data processor contract, containing data protection provisions, was not in place at the time of the incident.

The second reported incident involved a letter containing mental health information relating to one individual being sent to the incorrect address.  The breach occurred in January 2013, but the ICO was not informed of it until February 2014. The mailing error caused a delay in the data subject receiving the letter but did not cause any clinical consequence to any ongoing treatment. The data controller was unable to determine what steps had been taken to recover the letter in order to prevent further dissemination of the contents.

See the text of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s undertaking here (pdf). Neither of these incidents had previously been reported on this blog.

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