ICO fines less than one per cent of DPA breaches

Despite the FoI request showing three breaches in the private sector for every two in the public domain, only seven enterprises had been pulled up with just one fined compared to 29 publicly funded organisations with three fined.

It also showed the one private sector fine given to A4e to be the smallest doled out so far, standing at 60,000.

"The ICO has stated that the private sector has a worse grasp of the data protection act than the public," added McIntosh. "However, the ICO's actions so far do not seem to encourage any improvement."

"For example, other organisations can easily look at the 60,000 penalty meted out to A4e, its size compared to the company's 145 million turnover, its rarity and the fact that A4e is still receiving plenty of business, from the Government no less, and feel that the risk of ICO action is one they are prepared to take"

He continued: "This is in direct comparison to the public sector, which dutifully reports its failures under the data protection act and receives more, and larger, penalties as a result, simply resulting in funds being moved around the public sector away from the organisations using them."

We asked for a response to these issues from the ICO but it had not responded to our request at the time of publication.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.