Thomas Bridge 04 June 2015

ICO needs 'more muscle' over council data breaches

ICO needs more muscle over council data breaches image

Calls have been raised for stronger central powers over council data breaches, after an investigation revealed 129 leaks were reported last year.

Freedom of Information requests sent by security firm ViaSat UK have revealed a total of 1,089 breaches were reported across the UK in last 12 months, with the health and local government sectors accounting for more than half of all reported leaks.

Results supplied by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and UK police forces found local government also accounted for the highest number of interventions by the protection body, seeing 24 over the past year.

In contrast, the health sector saw 14 interventions and policing forces just 6.

Fears were raised that the number of breaches could be far higher as there is currently no legal obligation to report leaks under the Data Protection Act.

The disparity in the number of reports to the ICO and the accurate number of breaches was indicated by police reports that at least 13,000 devices that could hold sensitive data were stolen from businesses over the past 12 months.

Chris McIntosh, CEO of ViaSat UK, said the ICO now needed 'more legal and financial muscle' to encourage better protection of data.

'The ICO simply doesn't have the tools and powers it needs to ensure that either all threats are reported, or that risk is minimised,' McIntosh added.

'While compulsory reporting of every single potential breach could be difficult to enforce, inevitably it would give the ICO a clearer view of the problem and allow it to better mandate best practice.

'However, in the meantime compulsory encryption, and the power to police it, is the absolute minimum that the ICO should be granted.'

Results indicated the number of self-reported data breaches to the ICO had fallen in the past two years. Some 1,274 breaches were reported in the 12 months from March 2013, almost 200 higher than in the past year.

Supporting the most vulnerable in Herts image

Supporting the most vulnerable in Herts

Hertfordshire CC is investing £9.6m to support its most vulnerable residents in overcoming the repercussions of the pandemic. Scott Crudgington explains why the council is determined to remain ‘a county of opportunity’ for all.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

People Technology / HRIS Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £42174 per annum
The Opportunity The People Technology / HRIS Analyst will be responsible for supporting the ongoing management of people-based technology including England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Energy Engineer

Surrey County Council
£45,734 - £51,725 per annum
Do you have experience in working with delivering carbon reduction measures into a range of building projects? Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Wellbeing and Independence Practitioner - Safeguarding

Essex County Council
£27203 - £31370 per annum
Please note, this role is a Fixed Term Contract until the end of March 2022. With us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
c. £150,000
Are you ready for an exciting and rewarding opportunity Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Fire & Rescue Service

Housing Development Manager

City of York Council
£36,476 to £41,830 per annum
Do you want to play a key part in the delivery of “the UK’s most ambitious council-led housing programme in a generation”? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue