UK: Recent enforcement actions by the ICO deal with employees behaving badly

From the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK, news about two cases involving employees behaving badly. One case involved a housing association employee snooping in records without justification, and the other involved a Restorative Justice Caseworker who sent personal data on victims and offenders to her home email address.

A former customer services officer at Stockport Homes Limited (SHL) has been found guilty of unlawfully accessing personal data without a legitimate reason to do so.

Wendy Masterson spent time looking at anti social behaviour cases on SHL’s case management system when she wasn’t authorised to do so. She accessed the system a total of 67 times between January and December 2017.

The offences came to light following an audit of Masterson’s access to SHL’s case management system, after concerns were raised regarding her performance, which resulted in Masterson’s suspension and her subsequent resignation.

Masterson, of Middlesex Road, Stockport pleaded guilty to unlawfully accessing personal data in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 at Stockport Magistrates Court on 6 June 2019. She was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £364.08 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Mike Shaw, Group Manager Enforcement at the Information Commissioner’s Office, which brought the prosecution, said:

“People have the absolute right to expect that their personal information will be treated with the utmost privacy and in strict accordance with the UK’s data protection laws.

“Our prosecution of this individual should act as a clear warning that we will pursue and take action against those who choose to abuse their position of trust.”

In other news from the ICO:

A Restorative Justice Caseworker has been prosecuted for sending sensitive personal data to her own personal email account without authorisation.

Jeannette Baines had worked at Victim Support and sent spreadsheets containing a combination of victim and offender data from her work email address to her personal email address during her last week of employment.

Jeannette Baines, of Merseyside appeared before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court and was found guilty of obtaining personal data, in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. She was sentenced to a 3 year conditional discharge, ordered to pay costs of £600 and a victim surcharge of £20.

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