Hundreds of police interview tapes left behind
In the latest fine by The ICO, Kent Police have been fined £100,000 after it was discovered that highly confidential information was left in a basement of a former police cell. The data breach was stumbled upon by chance as a policeman was at the premises, which had since been sold to a commercial property owner, and saw boxes with Kent Police tape wrapped around them. Upon questioning the business owner as to how he had come into possession of this data, he said he had found the boxes and was planning to watch the contents for entertainment. The property was searched thoroughly and subsequently hundreds of additional taped interviews, documents and evidence tapes were discovered, including recorded interviews of informants, victims and perpetrators: A severe breach of data protection.
The ever-increasing frequency of data breaches from industries of all kinds is worrying and it has never been more important for companies to scrutinise their current data protection procedures in order to protect themselves, employees and customers. The repercussions of a data breach are far reaching and it can be difficult for a company to redeem themselves following such an embarrassing lack of duty of care regarding sensitive data ICO Head of Enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said: “If this information had fallen into the wrong hands, the impact on people’s lives would have been enormous and damaging. These tapes and files included extremely sensitive and confidential information relating to individuals, many of whom had been involved in serious and violent crimes. How a police force could leave such information unattended in a basement for several years is difficult to understand.” This clear lack of oversight could easily have been avoided had effective and secure data protection procedures been put into place, and in this case the perpetrators, informants and victims have only luck to thank that this data didn't fall into the wrong hands.
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