Our Data Leak Lawyers have initiated investigations and anyone affected is free to contact us for help and advice.
The discovery of the breach
The breach was discovered by an employee who was trying to replicate the format of the excel document posted online. The employee inadvertently double clicked on a pivot table which opened up the associated data for the 'protected groups' and 'equality pay bands.'
The data was uploaded to the website on 4th March 2014 and the breach was discovered on 30th January 2015 - meaning the data was available for almost a year.
The data leaked was volunteered by staff as part of NHS duties for publishing metrics on equality and diversity. The data included:
- National Insurance numbers
- Dates of birth
- Religious beliefs
- Sexual orientation
Individually this data is subject to legislation that protects from unauthorised disclosure, but much of the data (as you can see) is extremely personal and very sensitive, and therefore highly confidential.
The extent of the breach
The breach affects 6,574 past and present employees for Blackpool NHS Trust.
The pivot data has been accessed 59 times and downloaded 20 times, with several of those who downloaded the data classed as "persons unknown." The alarming truth is that we may never know just how far and wide the data has been leaked; so the damage is done, which is a real concern for us.
£185,000.00 fine for a "serious" unauthorised disclosure
This is certainly one of the more serious cases of unauthorised disclosure we have seen here in the UK. The scale of the breach affects thousands of current and former NHS employees and involves highly sensitive information.
Investigations with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) resulted in a fine of £185,000.00 after it found that the Trust had overlooked the need to have robust procedures in place for "no good reason."
It was discovered that staff handling the data had no idea that the information could still be accessed which stems from a fundamental lack of guidance at an organisational level.
Have you been affected?
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a legal obligation to inform you. They should therefore have already contacted you or be in the process of contacting you to advise if your information has been affected by the breach, and if so, what information was made accessible.
In a word from our team:
"It goes without saying, but this is a very serious breach. The nature of the information that's been made available is extremely sensitive.
This is a huge breach. We're concerned that the lack of organisational guidance and lack of proper systems to safeguard personal data seen in this case will arise again and again. We act for individuals and groups who have been affected by very similar leaks and it won't stop until more is done to protect our personal data.
This isn't the first time this has happened, and we doubt it will be the last."
Our lawyers help thousands of people claim the compensation they deserve - and we can help you too.
Our specialised Data Leak Lawyers are helping people claim for data leak compensation right now in singular actions and large group actions for organisational breaches like the one here.
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