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Unencrypted Laptop loss results in Data Protection breach

The Data Protection Act was breached after an unencrypted laptop containing the personal data of 100 young people was stolen.

The data, which included names, addresses, dates of birth and school attended, was stolen from the home of a contractor working with Newcastle Youth Offending Team.

Although there was a contract in place between the contractor and the Team, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that the Team was failing to ensure compliance with security measures.

Newcastle Youth Offending Team has now signed an undertaking to ensure it doesn’t allow a similar situation to happen again.

Acting Head of Enforcement, Sally-Anne Poole, said:

“Encryption is a basic procedure and an inexpensive way to ensure that information is kept secure. But, to their detriment, not enough data handlers are making use of it. This case also highlights how important it is to ensure that watertight procedures are in place before any work is undertaken by contractors. Organisations shouldn’t simply assume that third parties will handle personal data in line with their usual standards. I’m pleased that Newcastle Youth Offending Team has learned lessons from this incident and hope that it encourages others to heed our advice.”

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