Category: Employee Data Breach
A former Wiltshire Council social worker has reportedly been taken to court over a “serious breach of trust”, having been found to have accessed sensitive information without reason or authorisation.
As a social worker, the individual in question was granted certain data access privileges. It has been reported by the Gazette and Herald that she abused her position in a way that could have put the privacy and safety of vulnerable people at risk.
Social workers naturally have a high level of trust invested in them, so it is understandable that there is a no-tolerance policy for any employees who breach this trust. Social services data breaches like this can have severe consequences for those affected, particularly where vulnerable minors are involved, as their personal details often must be kept under highly restricted access in order to protect them from abusive adults. We represent people for these kinds of cases quite a lot. As such, it is essential that anyone who threatens to compromise the need for data protection is punished accordingly.
It has recently been confirmed that a former Hampshire police officer has been reportedly banned from ever entering the police service again after it was found that he accessed private records without a valid policing reason. The Special Constable in question is understood to have resigned from his position before superiors could dismiss him for his data snooping.
While police officers are granted information access to records and details that are needed for casework, they are not authorised to view or use information outside of their policing workload without any good reason. Campbell violated his professional duty by accessing information without a legitimate reason, reportedly only browsing the records due to “curiosity”.
Regardless of the motives of the Hampshire police officer, there is no excuse for breaching data protection law. We trust the police service to maintain strict control over personal information, so it is important that any officers who breach the duty they owe to the public are held accountable for their actions.
In many cases, data protection breaches arise as a result of human error. A CybSafe analysis of data breaches reported to the ICO found that 90% of UK data breaches in 2019 were caused by user mistakes. The employees responsible for cybersecurity would, therefore, seem to be failing to adhere to data protection law, but there is much more to it than that.
Despite the high incidence of human error, it is employers who bear the ultimate responsibility for upholding data protection at their companies. This can mean that, when a data breach occurs, organisations may be liable to pay compensation. If you have been affected by a data breach caused by an employee, you can still have every right to make a claim and recover compensation from the organisation as a whole.
Despite looking up private police records without authorisation, a Detective Sergeant has recently evaded dismissal following a misconduct hearing. In the Northamptonshire detective data breach case, the Detective Sergeant reportedly looked up the details of a woman with whom he was engaging in an extra-marital relationship with at the time, who was involved in a case he was working on.
His actions reportedly amounted to misconduct, so the Northamptonshire Police appear to be sending mixed messages by not taking the matter any further. The police can, and often do, dismiss officers for similar offences, but this officer’s acceptance of the accusations against him, and his standing in the force, seem to have allowed him to avoid further consequences.
Police data breaches like this should be treated with the severity that they merit, taking account of the potential damage such actions can cause. Police services cannot afford to let employees off lightly for breaching data access regulations, as doing so could risk compromising the force’s reputation and its overall data security and integrity.
Although no formal incident has occurred, statements made by ex-employees have given rise to Amazon data breach concerns. Describing the attitudes to personal data, one of the former employees, who previously held high-profile positions, reportedly noted that Amazon is unaware if it is protecting information correctly. The coverage suggested that Amazon does not have a handle on the huge quantities of data it has aggregated, which is a worrying thought given the company’s status as one of the largest businesses in the world.
The insider perspectives provide no confirmation of breaches of data protection law, but it is nevertheless worrying to think that the concerns of security experts were reportedly dismissed during time spent at Amazon. As a leading international e-commerce company, million of users visit Amazon sites all the time.
Holding millions of customers’ information, the data protection responsibilities of Amazon are monumental. As such, if a breach were to occur, the effects could be devastating. As leading specialists in data breach claims, we want to see that all companies are taking their duties seriously, as we know how serious the repercussions can be for victims who have their information exposed.
If we were to ask employers about the employee data that they hold, most might come up with a long list of personal details. Lots of employee information is made up of basic details, such as contact numbers, bank account numbers and National Insurance numbers. However, the HR department often stores more in-depth records relating to issues such as workplace disputes, employee complaints, mediation matters, and counselling details. This is where the possibility of workplace disciplinary data leaks can be worrying, and medical and diversity data could also be at risk.
When disciplinary action is taken against employees, it will typically be handled privately and quietly, and should be kept this way to protect those affected. However, this privacy can be compromised when a data breach occurs, severely undermining the integrity of the disciplinary process.
Even where wrong has been done, disciplinary information should not be subjected to public exposure. Anyone who has fallen victim to a data leak such as this may be entitled to claim compensation for the harm caused.
We naturally expect that healthcare professionals and their support staff will treat our private data with the respect it deserves, only viewing, accessing or sending information when it is strictly necessary. However, there are unfortunately certain individuals who seek to take advantage of the access they are given. NHS staff misusing information are not only breaking with professional standards, they could also be breaching data protection law.
As leading specialists in data breach claims, we have encountered a number of cases in which patient information has been accessed or processed unlawfully by employees. Using our expertise in this area of law, we remind employees that they cannot get away with the misuse of patient records, ensuring that they face consequences for their actions.
In cases where staff are found guilty of breaching data protection regulations, the victims could be eligible to claim compensation. Medical data is often highly sensitive, and no one should ever be made to feel that such information has been compromised or put a risk. If you have been affected by an incident like this, you can contact us for advice on your potential compensation claim.
Whenever an employee joins a company, they are usually required to disclose a variety of personal details for the purposes of workplace records. In many cases, this data is taken for the employee’s safety, with details such as family contact numbers and health condition information allowing employers to act appropriately in the event of an emergency. However, holding such sensitive information can pose many risks to employees if it becomes exposed. In fact, if they have poor data protection measures, companies risk making their employees vulnerable to workplace discrimination from a data breach if something happens.
Employers have a legal obligation to protect the information of their employees, so they can be held liable when a data breach does occur. We aim to bring victims of data breaches the justice they deserve, so contact us for advice if your personal information has been exposed in your place of work.
While it may be difficult to believe that such a needless mistake can breach data protection law, countless data breaches have arisen as a result of files sent to the wrong address. Over email or by post, a minute error like this can allow an unauthorised third party to view personal information which they should never have seen.
The mistake alone can constitute a data protection breach, but further problems can arise when the recipient of the files has malicious intentions. In many cases, the recipient may delete or destroy the files upon request, but not everyone is a good citizen. Sending errors can pose several opportunities for data misuse, such as identity theft, fraud and scams.
As leading specialists in data protection law, we believe that the impact of a data breach should never be underestimated. As such, however small a breach may seem, the data controller responsible should be held accountable for their actions. If you have been affected by a data breach, you may be eligible to make a compensation claim.
When imagining a data breach in the workplace, our minds often go to database hacks or malicious cyberattacks. However, the risks of printers are not always considered. In fact, printer hacks can sometimes be just as dangerous, acting as a route into the wider company network.
The lack of awareness surrounding such risks can demonstrate that there is often poor education about data protection at many companies. Ensuring good data protection is not simply a case of implementing firewalls or antivirus software. It is also vital that employees follow strict procedures and are aware of what good practice is.
When a third-party organisation fails to protect your personal information, they may have breached data protection law. Where this is the case, you may be able to make a claim in order to be compensated for the damage caused. As leading specialists in data protection law, we help those affected by data breaches to access the justice they deserve.