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Hundreds of HMRC staff get discipline for spying on personal data

Treasury Financial Secretary Jane Kennedy reported that more than 600 employees at at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been disciplined in the past three years for accessing sensitive and confidential information.

Responding to a Common's request for information by the shadow home affairs spokesman, James Brokenshire, Ms Kennedy said that in a significant portion of the cases, the staff was fired.

This accounted for less than one percent of HMRC employees.

Kennedy added that the Revenue and Customs department has a "strict policy forbidding staff to access customer records unless they have a legitimate business need".

"Breaches of this policy are taken seriously and will result in the commencement of disciplinary proceedings," she said in a written statement. "Each case is treated on its merits but, in many cases, the disciplinary penalty for breach is dismissal."

ITPro reports that no HM Treasury staff has been disciplined or dismissed after the HMRC debacle at the end of 2007 which saw millions of records lost during an inter-departmental transit.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.