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Bolton school data loss worrying incident

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This month’s news about the Bolton school data loss incident is incredibly worrying to hear about, especially given how vulnerable data in the wrong hands can be.

Although the document containing the pupils’ data has been reported as missing, and it may be the case that it has been lost forever or disposed of, there remains the risk that it could fall – or already has fallen – into the wrong hands.

As expert data leak lawyers, we’ve helped a lot of people with school data breach compensation claims over the years we’ve been fighting for justice. When it comes to vulnerable persons like children, any data incident can lead to significant distress suffered by the victims and their families.

About the Bolton school data loss incident

The Bolton school data loss incident actually involved the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. It’s understood that the Trust has launched an internal investigation after it was discovered that a document containing pupils’ information has been “misplaced”.

The missing document is reported to have contained the information for 425 pupils, and contained data that included:

  • Names;
  • Addresses;
  • Birth dates.

The incident is believed to have happened as part of a process for transferring children’s records from a primary school to a secondary school. At this time, it has been stated that no health information was contained in the document that has gone missing.

A serious incident

The Bolton school data loss incident is serious, even where health information has not been lost or exposed.

The Trust has also confirmed that they’re taking the data breach “very seriously”, and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been informed about the incident.

A spokesperson from the Trust said:

“Regretfully, during the transfer of records this year, a list of 425 pupil names, dates of birth, address and schools has been misplaced. The records do not include any health information.

We offer everyone affected our sincere apologies. We know that this isn’t the standard of care people expect of us and want to reassure people that we are taking it very seriously.”

They have also confirmed that the parents and guardians of the children have been informed.

Will there be a GDPR fine?

The Bolton school data loss incident may trigger a GDPR fine from the ICO. We’ve only seen the power of GDPR with the provisional fines set for BA and Marriott, and we’ve yet to really see how it may impact the healthcare / public sector.

We have seen an increase in medical data breach compensation claims in recent years, which may be down to greater awareness about people’s rights.

If the ICO do issue a monetary penalty, they may with so consider that this has involved vulnerable young people’s data.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Matthew on October 23, 2019
Posted in the following categories: Data Schools Security and tagged with | | |


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