A recent report by the organisation/group called Big Brother Watch has over the last year requested via FOI information from local authorities on data lost by them. It claims Cornwall Council is the tenth worst authority with 25 cases of losing data from those authorities who replied. The report from BBW is HERE
Tenth worst, with twenty-five cases? Sounds really bad does it, but what are those twenty-five items? State secrets, or some other ‘top secret for your eyes only’ information. I am not excusing loss of data, but lets look at these breaches.
Out of these twenty-five cases
- 9 were letters/fax/email posted or sent to the wrong address/recipient
- 4 letter posted in error
- 1 case of loss of memory stick (the stick was empty and encrypted)
- 1 case of loss of a camera (pictures of services users on it)
- 2 cases of letter/documents lost in the post
- 1 back up tape lost
- 2 cases of personal details left in a FOI response
- 1 case of email addresses of customers visible in a group email
- TUPE information sent to tenderers (not the best move really)
- 1 case of paperwork lost from confidential bins (how did they know it was lost as confidential bins are locked)
- 1 case of a mobile phone lost
Mistakes do happen, especially for such a large organisation like Cornwall Council and every effort should be made to stop data breaches like these. I just thought I would put it in perspective. Might be interesting to know how many breaches have been made by central government, or the local NHS trust. Also, I wonder how many letters Royal Mail ‘misplaces’ each year?
Anyway, Graham Smith of BBC Radio Cornwall gives his views on the subject HERE