However ICO’s figures suggest UK biz not getting the message about data protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a loans company £150,000 after it lost two backup tapes containing personal details of half a million customers.
The penalty was issued after Welcome Financial Services (WFS) division Shopacheck lost the tapes in November last year. They were unencrypted and contained name, address, date of birth and loan account details for around 510,000 customers.
According to the ICO’s findings, the tapes also contained information on workers at WFS and Shopacheck and could have included financial information and bank account details.
The tapes have not been recovered.
This fine of £150,000 means the ICO has now handed out over £2m in financial penalties. Since it was handed the powers in April 2010, 21 companies have been punished.
The news of this penalty comes as the ICO releases its yearly report. Despite a number of high profile cases it seems companies are not getting the message that data protection processes need to be improved.
The total of 12,985 complaints received in the last year is a drop of just 0.3%. Despite this, information commissioner Christopher Graham was pleased with the year’s work.
"Over the past year the ICO has bared its teeth and has taken effective action to punish organisations many of which have shown a cavalier attitude to looking after people’s personal information," he said.
"This year we have seen some truly shocking examples, with sensitive personal information, including health records and court documents, being lost or misplaced, causing considerable distress to those concerned. This is not acceptable and today’s penalty shows just how much information can be lost if organisations don’t keep people’s details secure," he added.
In the annual report, Graham expanded on what he thought of the ICO’s performance this year.
"Three years ago, we developed a vision for an ICO that was fit for the challenges of the future. We said ‘By 2012, we will be recognised by our stakeholders as the authoritative arbiter of information rights …’ that was our Olympic challenge – and I’m glad to say that the findings of our stakeholder research suggest that the ICO has not disappointed," he wrote.