Increasing Incidents of Data Theft Has Reached Unacceptable Levels, Says ICO

Taking a very serious view on the repeated incidents of data loss by organisations across UK, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned firms that they may face action for losing confidential data of their clients and has termed the current situation as unacceptable.

In an event organized for data controllers, David Smith, deputy information commissioner of UK, asked firms to remain vigilant about security breaches and told them to act swiftly in order to tighten data security.

It is important to note that out of the 711 reports of data security breaches reported to ICO in the last two years, 231 were related to data theft and around 54 organizations have been pulled up by the ICO for data security related violations since November 2007.

Hospitals coming under the responsibility of the NHS are counted among the worst offenders as numerous incidents of private medical records of patients have been reported stolen or missing; in the last 12 months alone, reports of theft of private medical records have gone up from 70 to 134.

Almost two years ago, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) caused a major uproar when it reported the loss of 25 million child benefit records which were stored on a disk that got lost in the mail and since then over 200 hospitals and 200 companies have reported breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Our Comments

The lost of the CDROMs from the HMRC almost two years ago was the seminal moment, the pivotal point when concept of information handling was thrown in the limelight. Since that incident, there has been many other instances of data losses although none were as jaw dropping as that one.

Related Links

Sharp rise in amount of personal data being lost or stolen

(Yorkshirepost)

Burglaries and theft account for third of data breaches

(ITpro)

NHS accounts for 30% of data breaches in past two years

(BBC)

'Too much' personal data is being lost

(QAS)

Lax security will cost firms dear, ICO warns

(V3)