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Data breach fines to increase after country’s biggest case

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UK Companies found guilty of data protection breaches could be fined up to £500,000 under new government plans.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Civil Monetary Penalties consultation paper outlines the dangers now facing lapse businesses as a T-mobile employee is accused of the country’s largest ever abuse of personal data.

The employee sold millions of customer database records to a number of brokers who then contacted rival phone providers. The unnamed employee, who no longer works for T-Mobile, earned “substantial sums” for the theft, which allowed buyers to target mobile phone users just before their current contract was out-of-date and offer new deals.

“The number of records involved runs into the millions, and it appears that substantial amounts of money changed hands,” said the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), now investigating the breach.

The ICO will also assist with the government’s consultation paper.

“The Government is proposing to introduce a maximum Civil Monetary Penalty for serious breaches of the DPA of up to £500,000,” says the MoJ’s consultation. “This reflects the importance that Government places on safeguarding personal data effectively and processing it responsibly and lawfully.”

“The Information Commissioner’s Office will exercise its discretion to assess the appropriate level of any penalty it imposes and will publish detailed guidance setting out the criteria it will use and circumstances it will take into consideration.”

Data breach figures released by the ICO this week, show that 434 organisations, including more than 200 hospitals, reported data security breaches over the past year, up from 277 the year before.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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