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Freedom of Information requests confirm 1014% rise in reported data breaches

Computerworld.co.uk has reported on research carried out by storage firm, Imation, regarding the sharp rise of data breach incidents reported to the ICO in recent years.

Freedom of Information requests have confirmed a 1014% rise in reported breaches since 2007 across eight industry sectors logged by the ICO.

This included a 1,609 percent increase in incidents reported by local government, a 935 percent rise in the NHS, and a 132 rise in central government. “Other” public sector organisations – a catch-all category for organisations that fall outside these headings – showed a 1,380 percent rise.

For comparison, the private sector as a whole showed a 1,159 percent rise with only one sector, telecoms, doing well enough to record no breaches in the most recent period.

The percentages also add up to a concerning number of cases in absolute terms; between November 2007 and November 2008, local government reported 11 data beach incidents a figure that had grown to 188 by 2012.

The total number of incidents reported to the ICO in 2011/12 stands at 821, Imation said.

“More alarming is the consistent year-on-year increase in data breaches since 2007,” said Nick Banks of Imation Mobile security. “The figures obtained from the ICO by Imation seem to show that increasing financial penalties have had little effect on the amount of data breaches each year,” he said.

Over time, the ICO’s has started to get tougher with the number of fines growing. One analysis claimed that the ICO was more likely to fine public sector organisations than private ones but comparisons are hard to make because of differences in the type of data held.