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Imprisonment ‘should await data protection abusers’

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Imprisonment ‘should await data protection abusers’

Those found guilty of breaching data protection legislation should face possible custodial sentences to curb the growing and unlawful use of personal information, experts have warned.

This week, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told the Justice Select Committee that custodial sentences need to be available to the courts to halt the illegal use of personal information.

“It beggars belief that – in an age where our personal information is being stored and accessed by more organisations than ever – the penalties for seriously abusing the system still do not include the possibility of a prison sentence, even in the most serious cases,” said Mr Graham.

“Access to online records is now part and parcel of almost every transaction the citizen makes – with Government agencies, Local Government, the NHS, DVLA, high street banks, insurers, social networks. This only makes the risks to privacy greater and the need for security greater still.”

His call for action follows this week’s news that a bank cashier pleaded guilty to using her position to access illegally the personal details of a sex attack victim.

“The details of this case are truly shocking. The victim had a harrowing enough experience at the hands of her attacker; the revelation that her attacker’s wife was then rooting through all her personal details, for whatever purpose, would have caused even further distress.

“I note the outcome of this latest case, and I remain concerned that the courts are not able to impose the punishment to fit the crime in all cases, because the current penalty for this all too common offence is limited to a fine rather than the full range of possible sentences, including prison for the most serious cases.”

Written by Andrew Hodges

September 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Posted in LinkedIn

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