Lancashire Police in data breach blunder


The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has slapped the Lancashire Police Authority on the wrist for a website snafu which led to a data breach.

The police force accidentally published details of an individual's complaint on its website, failing to edit information on two documents marked as restricted.

The Lancashire Police Authority also failed to remove the offending data after it had been told of the breach on 24 January. The information remained on the website for four days after that.

"While it is important that public authorities are transparent about the work they do by publishing information online, this should never be at the expense of an individual's rights to privacy," said ICO director of operations Simon Entwisle.

"There can be no excuse for publishing someone's personal information online, and the fact that the authority failed to remove it when told makes this case all the more concerning."

The police force has now signed an undertaking, forcing it to ensure proper procedures are in place so non-redacted documents don't appear on its website.

"The authority will also develop a policy for staff explaining the actions they should take when receiving notice of a data breach as well as providing appropriate training and support on how to follow it," the ICO added.

The police were under the security spotlight again earlier this month for database "abuses."

A Big Brother Watch report discovered over 900 police officers and staff in the UK were subject to internal disciplinary procedures for breaching the Data Protection Act (DPA) over the past three years.

The report also found 243 police members of staff received criminal convictions for breaking laws set down by the DPA.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.