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Oxford City Council issued an apology over a possible data breach that the local authority may have caused. It is said that a computer error may have exposed information contained in rent statements.
Following news coverage from The Oxford Mail, the exact nature of this security incident and its impact has been unclear. It was not decisively identified as a data breach, but incidents such as this nevertheless highlight the damage that can be brought about by unintentional data protection errors. Even where the data controller has not broken data protection law, it is important to flag potential negligence to ensure that it is thoroughly investigated.
As a victim of an information security incident, it can often be difficult to tell whether or not an organisation has breached your rights under data protection and privacy law. This is why it is important to seek legal advice if you have reason to believe that your personal information has been compromised. At Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers- as leading data compensation claims experts, we can offer potential data breach victims free, no-obligation advice on their eligibility for a compensation claim.
The error made by Oxford City Council which could have resulted in a data breach reportedly involved sending rent statements to the wrong addresses. One resident reported receiving a letter with their address on but without their name, which they opened without realising the mistake on the envelope, according to The Oxford Mail. The resident said the letter contained the intended recipient’s reference, details of payments and the dates on which they had been made, as well as their address.
When Oxford City Council became aware of the issue, it attributed the error to a new computer system that had been put in place. The system reportedly was installed for the purposes of managing landlord services, but appears to have been faulty given the error made in addressing rent statements to the wrong tenants.
According to a statement from the council CEO, only “a small proportion” of rent statements were issued to the incorrect recipients, and efforts have since been made to resolve the system issue.
In response, Oxford City Council also reported the possible data breach to the ICO, the UK’s data protection regulator. Investigations by the regulator may eventually lead to a decision on whether the law has been breached, and whether or not any enforcement action needs to be taken.
As demonstrated by the security issue at Oxford City Council, a council data breach can be capable of significantly compromising residents’ privacy. This is why it is vital that all local authorities ensure their systems are operating as effectively and securely as possible.
Where they fail to do so, they could be held liable via a data breach claim.
If you believe a council or any other organisation has unfairly compromised your personal information, you could be eligible to claim compensation for the harm caused. To find out more about making a claim, contact our expert team today for free, no-obligation advice.
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