Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The pitfalls of Data Protection!

I've always been a little bit wary of the Data Protection Act since my days in the Police and having seen the punishments handed out for breaches of the Act. I therefore tend to take up any opportunities to attend training sessions on Data Protection, which I did yesterday morning with about 25 other County Councillors ( a good turnout for a training session).  The training session was excellent in that it left us all with food for thought about how we kept information and the legal consequences if we breached the Act. On reflection however it would seem that the training session would have been better directed at officers of the Housing and Public Protection who dropped a little bit of a clanger...
Workers at Wrexham Council were left with red faces yesterday after an email blunder saw residents’ personal information being wrongly shared. Hundreds of names and personal e-mail addresses were publicly divulged in a mail out of the authority’s annual tenant survey. It’s believed the tenant email survey  was due to be sent to multiple ‘blind carbon copy’ (bcc) addresses, where each individual recipient is unaware of who else was sent a copy. However, due to human error the ‘bcc’ was just a ‘cc’ carbon copy, so everyone was able to see who was sent the email.
Cllr Malcolm King, Lead Member for Finance, Performance & Governance, said: “We have acknowledged that a human error occurred which meant that personal email addresses were sent to a number of our tenants. This was an unfortunate error and we have apologised to everyone concerned. We have also taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.” (HT to Wrexham.com for this story)
The monetary penalties for breaches of the Data Protection can be quite severe with the Aneurin Bevan Health Board being fined £80,000 for breaches. This is money that Wrecsam Council can ill afford to pay out in fines

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha,ha, this sounds just like when Labour was last in power in Wrexham, one cock up after another.

Anonymous said...

Was Malcolm King at the data protection training?

Anonymous said...

I thought Mark Pritchard was Lead Member for Housing and Public Protection so why was Malcolm King apologising for the cock up?

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

MK wasn't at yesterday's training session.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/114659/council-howler-as-private-email-addresses-revealed.aspx

Anonymous said...

The gentleman in the Leader article was so concerned by the privacy breach that he allowed the paper to publish his full name, age and address!