Laura Sharman 01 May 2014

Local government reported 191 data breaches in 2013-14

Local government was responsible for 15% of all self-reported data breaches in 2013-14, according to a Freedom of Information request.

The figures, released by ViaSat Inc, also reveal that while breaches reported to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) grew by 11% in the time measured, monetary penalties shrank by 53%.

Chris McIntosh, CEO of ViaSat UK: ‘While the ICO has settled into its remit, the fact remains that the self-reported data breaches it deals with are not the be all and end all of threats to data protection in the UK.

‘At the very least, we can see that there were far more thefts of computing and other equipment from organisations than were reported to the ICO. We must trust that only a fraction of those thefts involved sensitive data being put at risk. Similarly, if less than 1% of the devices stolen in burglaries or personal thefts contained any sensitive information, that is still a huge amount of potentially sensitive data in the wrong hands.’

The health sector was responsible for the most self-reported data breaches in the time measured (474) while local government filed 191 reports. The most common cause was a disclosure in error (48% of cases) followed by lost or stolen paperwork (16%).

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