Data Privacy Day 2021 was marked recently on the 28th January, the fifteenth time the day has been celebrated. Also called Data Protection Day in the UK and Europe, Data Privacy Day commemorates the signing of the first international treaty that was legally binding for governing data protection and privacy, named Convention 108.
After what had been another eventful year of data breaches in 2020, we believe it is important for all individuals and organisations to start 2021 with a positive, proactive approach to data protection. The commemorative day at the start of the year should be valuable in raising awareness about issues relating to data privacy, yet nothing ever seems to change as we continue to see breach after breach after breach.
At Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers – we aim to empower victims of data breaches to take action against those who have failed to protect their data, to ensure that the consequences of data breaches can be learned. We feel that it is the most proactive way forward given that no amount of legislation or commemorative days appear to be making the difference that is really required.
A recent data handling error has left thousands of arrest records lost, after they were accidentally deleted from the Police National Computer (PNC).
The mistake represents an extremely severe blow to police operations, which could pose a threat to public safety. While initial statements set the number of lost records at 150,000, it has since been reported that as many as 400,000 crime records could be affected.
As one of our major national institutions, it is worrying to see that the police force has been hit by data loss of this scale. There is no room for such errors in an organisation responsible for protecting so much important information, which is one of its key weapons in detecting and arresting suspects.
A report has revealed that a recent Birmingham City Council data breach incident has taken place after private information was mistakenly published online.
It is alleged that the exposed data included the details of “vulnerable children”, although this has reportedly been disputed by the local authority. The council said that a number of citizens were affected, but has yet to confirm just how many people were affected.
The Birmingham City Council data breach appears to be yet another example of the human error data breaches we have seen occur at local authorities time and time again. As advocates of data security, we believe that there is never an excuse for errors such as this, as everyone has the right to have their private data kept safe. In many cases, victims of data breaches can be eligible to claim compensation for any harm caused. This may also be a possibility for those affected by the breach at Birmingham City Council.
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.
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, has recently spoken of his concerns regarding the technology used by local councils and the police to monitor public movements.
As the government watchdog designed to ensure government compliance with the surveillance camera code of practice, it is worrying that the commissioner believes the restrictions on local authorities may not be sufficient.
In particular, Mr Porter reportedly warned that the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras is unregulated by central government, likening their usage to MI5 tracking. In fact, the security services are subject to much tighter restrictions, while the level of surveillance led by councils and the police appears to be going under the radar.
At Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers – we always advocate for personal privacy, so it is worrying that the government may be unnecessarily storing data and information pertaining to members of the public.
A big Newcastle City Council data leak occurred three years ago after the personal data of thousands of children and their adoptive parents was sent out in an accidental email attachment.
The email concerned a party invitation sent out to 77 people for the council’s adoption summer party, with the inclusion of an internal spreadsheet that should never have been seen by unauthorised eyes.
In a reason that has become all too common in recent council data leaks, human error was blamed for the incident. Indeed, as this explanation recurs and recurs, it raises questions about how much progress has been made in local government data protection. Further, in today’s turbulent times of coronavirus leading to us all having to adapt to a more remote way of working and living, what else needs to be done to rectify these issues.
While large-scale data breaches are often the ones that hit the headlines, the reported Sheffield Council data breaches represent an example of how individual data breaches can build up and amount to significant information being exposed.
Over the course of 2019 and 2020, Sheffield City Council is understood to have recorded a total of 231 incidents, 92 of which were breaches involving personal data.
At the Your Lawyers – T/A the Data Leak Lawyers – we have been representing clients in privacy cases since 2014 as a leading firm of data breach compensation lawyers. We believe that councils must be held accountable for any inadequacies when it comes to data protection, so we are here to help you with council data breach compensation claims now.
The New Year’s Honours List is published at the end of every year to recognise the achievements of some of the most successful and influential people in our country. As such, the New Year’s Honours data breach at the end of 2019 was a significant blot on this celebratory event.
In an accidental leak, the addresses of over 1,000 award recipients were published online.
As the turn into 2021 marked just over a year since the leak occurred, we wish to notify victims that they still have a right to claim compensation. We are already taking legal action following the leak, as all organisations must be held accountable for failures to protect private data. Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers – is here to help any victims of data breaches at all times.
A member of staff at the West Mercia Police has reportedly resigned after breaching the force’s data protection regulations.
Although the staff member in question had elected to leave her position before her misconduct hearing was held, it appears that she would have had no choice but to go in any event, as the investigation concluded that the offence necessitated dismissal.
The incident is understood to have involved the employee sharing information inappropriately with a member of the public. This was done so without authorisation and without a necessary policing reason for releasing such data.
A recent meeting of local councillors has reportedly highlighted data security problems that could put the Lichfield District Council in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The issue surrounds the reported continued use of unencrypted laptops and was raised by Cllr Joanne Grange, who is understood to have expressed concerns that the problems had still not been addressed three years after they were identified in 2017.
It is understood that Cllr Grange suggested that the failure to update working practices in accordance with data protection regulations could be tantamount to “negligence”. Her statements have undoubtedly highlighted some key problems which the council should feel obliged to address as a matter of urgency.