UK: Private health firm fined £200,000 after IVF patients’ confidential conversations revealed online

From the Information Commissioner’s Office:

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a private health company, HCA International Ltd, for failing to keep fertility patients’ personal information secure.

The £200,000 monetary penalty has been issued as a result of an ICO investigation into the way the Lister Hospital was transferring, transcribing and storing records of IVF appointments.

The London hospital is part of a worldwide network of private health care facilities offering a range of services including fertility treatment. The issue was uncovered in April 2015 when a patient found that transcripts including details from interviews with Lister Hospital IVF patients could be freely accessed by searching online.

The investigation revealed the hospital had been routinely sending unencrypted audio records of the interviews by email to a company in India since 2009. Details of private conversations between a doctor and various hospital patients wishing to undertake fertility treatment were transcribed in India and then sent back to the hospital.

The ICO found the Indian company could not restrict access to the personal information because it stored audio files and transcripts using an unsecure server.



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