UK: Shropshire Council found in breach of the Data Protection Act

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found Shropshire Council in breach of the Data Protection Act following the loss of an unencrypted memory stick containing sensitive information relating to a large number of adult social care clients and members of staff.

The memory stick, which contained a social care management database including sensitive health information, was lost during a postal transfer from the council’s office to a contractor in Cardiff. The ICO has established that the memory stick also contained records that were excessive for their purpose and out of date.

Shropshire Council has worked closely with the ICO to ensure that lessons are learned. The Council has signed a formal Undertaking to ensure that databases only contain relevant and up to date information and that information is only transferred to portable devices where absolutely necessary. The Undertaking also requires the encryption of portable and mobile devices used to store and transmit personal data and for staff to be made fully aware of the Council’s policy for storage of personal data.

Mick Gorrill, Assistant Information Commissioner, said: “It is essential that organisations ensure the correct safeguards are in place when storing and transferring personal information, especially when it relates to such sensitive issues. Information must be kept safe, secure and up to date – these are important
principles of the Data Protection Act. I am pleased that the council has taken action to guard against security breaches of this nature.”

A copy of the Undertaking can be downloaded here:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/data_protection/enforcement.aspx

Source: ICO

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