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MPs call for increased powers for ICO

Guardian Professional has published an article regarding the argument that breaches of the Data Protection Act should result in the option of a custodial sentence, according to parliament’s justice committee.
‘Referral Fees and the theft of Personal Data’, a report by the committee, states: “Currently the only available penalty is a fine, which we feel is inadequate in cases where people have been endangered by the data disclosed, or where the intrusion or disclosure was particularly traumatic for the victim, or where there is no deterrent because the financial gain resulting from the crime far exceeds the possible penalty.”

The Information Commissioner has already voiced his annoyance at the fact he cannot investigate private organisations he feels could be taking data protection risks without their consent, and this report back up this opinion by adding: “We call on the Ministry of Justice to work with the information commissioner to assess how the current system is working, and to consider why he has not formally requested the power to compel audits in any additional sectors and whether this process is unduly cumbersome.”

Graham said: “We shouldn’t have to wait a further year for the 2008 legislation to be commenced when today’s highly profitable trade in our data has little if anything to do with the press.

The ICO does have the power to issue fines of up to £500,000 for data protection offences and has repeatedly stated that it wants to take a firmer stance on data protection.

DataWise, a service by Absolute Data, can help your organisation create robust and effective data protection policies and procedures: we can spend some time getting to know what data-related activity your business partakes in, and ensure that your policies and procedures reflect this activity. We can also help to train your staff; not only in the importance of data protection, but how they can ensure they are fully adhering to data protection law. We provide clients with a data protection toolkit, which offers a robust and effective solution in reducing the risk of data breaches. With the ICO’s power to fine up to £500,000 for data breaches, it is worth getting in touch with us to discuss how your organisation can ensure legal data compliance. Contact us now at, or call us on 01423 790125.