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The civil service spreads across a number of different departments, and handles a large amount of sensitive information. With the responsibility of processing, handling and storing such private data, we would expect the civil service to ensure that such data remains secure. Instead, there have been a number of civil service data breaches in recent years which indicates that these government departments may need to improve their data protection strategies.
In accordance with UK data protection law, all organisations in possession of information must protect it from exposure with appropriate procedures and cybersecurity measures. If they fail to do so, they could be deemed to have broken the law, and may face sanctions or penalties.
But also, if you have been affected by a data breach, you could be eligible to claim compensation for any harm caused. Even the civil service is not exempt from data protection law, so come to us for free, no-obligation advice if you think you may have a compensation claim to make.
From the Ministry of Defence to the Cabinet Office, the departments of the civil service play key roles in the everyday running of government and the management of our society. Huge quantities of confidential legal documents and private personal details are held within the civil service, so protecting this is a real focus.
If this information is exposed by civil service data breaches, the impact could cause a significant security risk. For example, it could threaten the privacy of senior civil service officials, or it could compromise major legal investigations. As such, it is vital that the information held by the civil service is kept secure. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
There have recently been a number of civil service data breaches, one of which saw the exposure of personal data relating to apprentices working in the civil service. Following a ransomware attack that reportedly affected the Cabinet Office, the details of apprentices were understood to have been found on the dark web, and victims were warned to be cautious of potential identity fraud.
In addition, there have been security incidents caused by basic employee errors. A report from March this year revealed that Ministry of Defence secrets had reportedly been exposed by employees sending documents to their personal email addresses. As state actors are known to target senior officials, it is extremely reckless for them to risk compromising sensitive information in this way.
In 2020, it was also revealed that the Department for Work & Pensions had left the National Insurance numbers of thousands of people available online for two years. The 6,000 victims affected by the DWP data protection breach were understood to have been applying for disability benefits.
A number of civil service data breaches in 2020 involved incidents at the Competition and Markets Authority, which was reportedly hit by 150 data breaches in just one year. Among these incidents, there were reportedly 81 cases in which staff disclosed information without authorisation, and 40 cases in which devices were lost or stolen. These data breaches again highlight how significant human error could be in severely compromising information security.
With some civil service employees failing to stick to even the most basic rules of data protection, it seems the civil service needs to act now to improve education on security procedures. In the meantime, we are here to represent anyone who has been adversely affected by a civil service data breach.
Your Lawyers, as leading specialists in data breach claims, have the expertise to bring your claim to fruition. To find out if you could be eligible for a No Win, No Fee claim, contact our team today for more information.
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