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In what is continuing to be a common trend for local government authorities, the recent Blackpool Council data leak has seen the exposure of personal data belonging to hundreds of individuals.
The issue has been labelled as a so-called accidental “human error” incident. A data handling mistake reportedly resulted in the details of about 428 people being made public, when the data should have remained private.
Occurring within months of our coverage of the Hackney Council cyberattack and the Bristol City Council data leak, this breach unfortunately comes as no shock to us. It probably comes as no shock to anyone who has become familiar with recurring patterns of council data leaks in general. Inadequate data protection practices at so many local councils means that this is a nationwide problem. We are here to help anyone affected by data breaches like this, striving to win them the compensation they deserve.
In early January, it was revealed that the security of personal data had been compromised at Blackpool Council after an update to a public register added information that was supposed to be kept private.
According to the Blackpool Gazette, a spokesman reported that “additional categories of data” were revealed when the public register was disclosed, and that 428 people were affected. The mistake was said to have been made on 14th December, but it is unclear how long it took for the information to be taken down.
In accordance with required procedures, the incident was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and they are investigating the breach.
The Blackpool Council data leak will have undoubtedly been unwelcome news to those affected, who have been failed by an organisation that they entrusted their private information to. An ICO spokesman highlighted that everyone has “the right to expect that their personal information is handled securely by any organisation”, a right that those affected by the leak have been denied.
The leaked information is believed to be linked to local landlords, but it is currently unclear what its exact nature is. If the data is found to have included contact or financial details, the victims may be subjected to scam messages and fraud attempts.
The ICO has requested that anyone worried about the Blackpool Council data leak should contact the council itself. If they feel that their concerns are not being addressed, they can contact the ICO directly also.
In addition, anyone affected by a data breach can obtain legal advice and representation if they believe that they have a compensation claim to make.
Those affected by the Blackpool Council data leak may be entitled to compensation if the council is found liable for the data protection breach. Given that the organisation has handled and shared information inappropriately, we believe that this will turn out to be the case.
At Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers – we are very experienced in data breach claims, having represented clients for data privacy matters since 2014. We are currently sitting on the Steering Committee responsible for conducting the first GDPR group action in the UK, which is testament to our expertise in this area of law.
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