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ICO To Start Handing Financial Penalties To Firms

The Information Commissioner's Office may start using its powers to dole out fines of up to £500,000 towards the end of the month according to Christopher Graham.

The Information Commissioner was speaking at an Information Security Event organised by Kable (opens in new tab) on the 3rd of November and said that had the HM Revenue and Customs lost the details of 25 million people now, the ICO would have applied the maximum penalty of £500,000.

Which is of course slightly ironic because the HMRC is a public sector organisation and fining it means an additional financial penalty for the tax payer.

Graham described the incident which occurred in 2007 as the "horror benchmark", one which we believe marked a watershed moment in data handling in the country.

Since the 6th April this year, the ICO has the ability to issue fines but has yet to exercise it. The Information Commissioner also defended the ICO's decision to let Google off with what many saw as a slap on the wrist.

Graham said that the watchdog may now audit Google as it made hat he calls "bankable undertakings".

Désiré Athow

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 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.