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Strict ICO Guidelines Do Little to Prevent UK Council Data Loss

A new study has found that councils in the UK lose data more than 1,000 times each year, even after the implementation of stricter guidelines by the ICO.

The study, conducted by the organisation Big Brother Watch, revealed that 132 councils in the UK had admitted to 1,035 instances of data loss between 2008 and 2011.

However, according to a report (opens in new tab) by The Telegraph, there were only nine instances in which staff had been fired over data loss.

"This research highlights a shockingly lax attitude to protecting confidential information across nearly a third of councils," said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch.

"The fact that only a tiny fraction of staff have been dismissed brings into question how seriously managers take protecting the privacy of their service users and local residents," he added.

The research found that during these three years, councils had lost 244 laptops, 98 memory sticks and 93 mobile devices. Meanwhile, 263 councils claim that they had not lost data at all.

Councils in Buckinghamshire and Kent were the worst offenders, admitting to 72 instances of data loss. Incidentally, only 55 cases of data loss out of 1,035 were reported to the Information Commissioner's Office.