Data Protection Breach - Seminar

Published: August 11, 2023

We have become used to hearing stories of data breaches caused by hacking and ransomware, including the news last week that there has been a security breach of the electoral register in which names and addresses of voters have been accessed, potentially as far back as August 2021.  However, the recent news from Northern Ireland has served as a reminder that human error can also result in significant data breaches.

The Stronachs data protection team will be running a session on data breaches in September. If you are interested in attending, either virtually or in person, let us know below and you will receive further information.

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In person

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Data Protection Breaches

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) responded to a Freedom of Information request by publishing details of around 10,000 officers including names, rank, where they are based, and the unit they work in. The information was online on the PSNI website for several hours. Subsequently, it was revealed that in July, a PSNI-issue laptop and radio were stolen, which contained a spreadsheet with the names of 200 officers and staff members of PSNI. While the information was remotely wiped, it has been reported that there was a three week gap between the devices being stolen and the theft being reported.

Meanwhile in Scotland, news outlets have reported that the genealogy website Scotland’s People made records of adoptions dating back 100 years available, including the adopted child’s new first and surnames.

These incidents serve as a reminder that data breaches do not have to be the result of the actions of hostile third parties, but can be caused by lack of thought or human error. Having clear procedures in place and carefully considering the consequences of how personal data is used is important to mitigate the risks caused by such breaches.