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There are reportedly worrying numbers of Sandwell Council data breach incidents, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
We can’t say that we’re surprised. A huge number of the Claimants we represent are claiming for council data breach compensation. Of the thousands of people who have approached us for help over the years we’ve been fighting for data breach justice, a large proportion are claims involving local government services.
What’s further worrying is the fact that the nature of the data local councils and their agents hold is usually voluminous and can be incredibly personal and sensitive in nature.
The FOI request from the Express and Star revealed there has been almost 500 Sandwell Council data breach incidents in the last five years.
This equates to almost a hundred each year.
With councils and local government agencies holding incredibly personal and sensitive data about hundreds of thousands – and even millions – of people, this is worrying. You have to remember that it’s more than just personal data that they hold. For council tax reasons and benefits or blue badge reasons, they also hold private and sensitive financial and medical data as well.
It only takes one breach to potentially reveal huge amounts of private and confidential information about a large number of people. The Sandwell Council data breach incidents reportedly include lost data and theft incidents, as well as emails and letters going to the wrong people.
In terms of what’s being done about the hundreds of Sandwell Council data breach incidents, the council say that action is taken when they happen.
The council classed incidents as “low-level”, but as we often remind people, “low-level” doesn’t mean there’s no risk at all. It only takes a little information for scammers and criminals to take advantage of innocent people. It only takes a little data from a number of breaches to build a profile about someone.
Data breaches do lead to risks for victims. There must be more of a preventative approach to data handling to protect people against the risks of council data breach incidents.
As we said earlier, council data breach compensation claims make up a huge number of the legal cases we’re involved in. They can be a hacking target as much as they can be a primary culprit for incidents of leaks and breaches by employees.
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