ICO Hits Councils With £150,000 Fine Over Lost Laptops

UK's data and privacy watchdog has levied fines of £150,000 on two London councils for failing to encrypt data on laptops.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ruled that the London councils of Ealing and Hounslow were in serious breach of UK's Data Protection Act after two laptops containing the unencrypted data of 1,700 individuals, were stolen from an employee's home.

The laptops contained data on 1,000 Ealing Council clients and 700 Hounslow clients.

The watchdog has ordered Ealing Council to pay a fine of £80,000, while Hounslow has to cough-up £70,000.

The ICO said in its ruling that there was no reason to believe the data on either of the laptops was accessed by the thieves.

ICO deputy commissioner David Smith said in a statement: “Both council have paid the price for lax data protection practices. I hope all organisations that handle personal information will make sure their houses are in order - otherwise they too may have to learn the hard way.”