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Information Commissioner's Office Lax On Data Breaches

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has found itself coming under severe pressure following reports of its failure to take adequate action against data breaches in the country.

According to a report revealed by ViaSat UK under the FIA (Freedom of Information) act, out of the 2,565 data breaches reported to the agency last year, it took action only in 36 cases and imposed a fine only four times.

While the largest possible fine, according to this report, is £500,000, the maximum fine imposed by the British watchdog agency was only £100,000, against Hertfordshire County Council for allegedly faxing child abuse data to the wrong place.

It is however, quite surprising for many to see the agency being reluctant to impose heavy fines, especially the agency lobbied in favor of having the option to impose large fines in cases where critical data had been compromised.

ViaSat UK's CEO Chris McIntosh said in a statement (opens in new tab), “The ICO has stated that the embarrassment and poor image of a fine will act as a deterrent and an incentive to improve an organisation's grasp of the Data Protection Act.” He added, “However, if fines are rare and well below the maximum allowed limit, their value has a deterrent drops.”