News: Stoke City Council fined for child protection data breach
Stoke on Trent City Council has been fined £120,000 for a major breach of the data protection act, when emails containing sensitive information relating to a child protection legal case was sent to the wrong person.
In December last year, a solicitor at the City Council sent 11 emails containing details of the case, as well as other information relating to the health of two adults and two other children. They had been intended for the legal conducting the case.
The person who received the emails by mistake did not respond when asked to delete them.
The Information Commissioner’s Office levied the fine after finding that the Council had not followed its own procedures, which specified that sensitive information should be encrypted or sent over a secure network. However they did not provide facilities or training to do this.
Stephen Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at the ICO, said:
“If this data had been encrypted then the information would have stayed secure. Instead, the authority has received a significant penalty for failing to adopt what is a simple and widely used security measure. It is particularly worrying that a breach in 2010 highlighted similar concerns around encryption at the authority, but the issue was not properly resolved.”
Photo by Dan Barbus under a Creative Commons licence
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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