A subject-matter expert has said that "there is effectively no enforcement" of the Data Protection Act, and suggested that corporate data losses or breaches are even more prevalent than in the public sector. Andrew Sharpe, partner at London law firm Charles Russell, practices in the field of technology and telecoms law. He also …
"bear sh*tting in woods", for stories like this
The DPA *is* enforced...
...it's just that on the whole it's a pretty wimpy and crap law.
The EC have written to UK.gov to point out that the DPA does not fulfil the requirements of the original directive 95/46. The fundamental principles are intact, but the language is ambiguous leading to questionable interpretations and precedents (Durant v FSA), and no two DP lawyers can ever agree on how best to make sense of it.
It has piss poor sanctions attached to it and prosecutions are rare and toothless. Clive Goodman got four months for s55 offences.
The ICO desperately needs better teeth but ends up playing lackey to BERR and the DTI - we'd not want to upset those nice businessmen, even if their information governance is non-existent. A call to the ICO helpline confirmed that if you complain of a DPA breach, they'll perform a softly-softly investigation, pretty much take everything at face value (no data forensics), and that is literally that. No further action.
Compare us to the Spanish, where breaches of their DP laws carry €millions+ fines for first offences... deterrent is much better than cure.
I'm not suggesting that corporate companies don't loose our data, but where are all of the found laptops and memory sticks on trains? Do they just loose the data differently?
The same everywhere
I live temporarily in Denmark and I experienced the same thing with a bank here. They had experienced a data loss that they didn't disclose. I found out about it by accident. They sent out an email saying they had detected 'customers with malware'. After a long phone conversation with some morons there, they admitted that some of their customer data had been discovered for sale on some Russian server. Companies go out of their way to make sure you don't know what's happened to your data and there should be severe penalties handed out for a data breach that can be proven that the company knew about it and didn't disclose it. The UK has a piss poor record on enforcing anything. We've bugger all chance of getting them to do anything about this.
In other news...
.... Pope is Catholic!
A spokesman from The Dept. of the Bloody Obvious
.. "suggested that corporate data losses or breaches are even more prevalent than in the public sector."
Next up: some bright spark will suggest that the private sector is actually less efficient than the public sector because private sector losses are invariably socialised.
Fine = [kb of data lost] * ([data criticality factor]/[encryption factor]) * [number of offences] * [base fine per kb]
So lets say a company loses 100 names, addresses and D.o.Bs. Not a lot of data, 48kb or so if plain text.
Criticality factor? High. On a scale of 1 to 100, I'd say 75. Deffo possible to use social engineering to gain control of an ID. If the data had been encrypted, the criticality factor could be reduced.
Encryption factor, 1. There was no encryption.
Let's say this is a first offence (maybe these need to expire after a time)
Base fine per kb? Oh, let's say £10 for fun.
Total fine in this case? 48 * (75/1) * 1 * 10 = £36,000
Remember, first offence and for not a lot of data.
What if this had been one of the more typical breaches we see? 2,000 names and a A LOT more information (say 2880kb). Still unencrypted.
2880 * (90/1) * 1 * 10 = £2,592,000 *ouch* For a first offence!
But wait, turns out the company wasn't that dumb and the data *was* encrypted. Strongly too (not just a passworded ZIP)
2880 * (90/90) * 1 * 10 = £28,800 Enough to make people think, but not so much that the company gets seriously hurt.
And so on. Such a simple mechanical system means companies basically set their own penalties by either taking protection seriously or by not. Their choice.
Everyone in the bloody Banana Republic .
Given how many mail order companies or forums sell on your email details it's obvious it's not policed properly.
Given how much personal data
has been lost and stolen and sold, I am now waiting for a Russian website to start offering to correct all the mistakes that the government databases have in my data. For a small fee of course.
@ Steen Hive
"private sector losses are invariably socialised"
Except for 99% of the time, when theyre not. It's only high profile chums of politicos who get bailed out.
How very true
In fact this happened to myself . A Public Body unlawfully disclosed data. The Data Protection Commissioner decided UNILATERALLY with the Public Body that they would not investigate until the Public Body said that they wanted them to !. Everything in this Country is an illusion to keep 99.9% of the population who don't ever need "it" happy that their tax monies are going to useful
causes, and the .1% find they are stuffed when they come to use "it" . It can be anything from
data breach to getting legal aid. It is all BS.
Private sector get off lightly - for now...
Just back from ICO DPO conference 2009
where exactly these points were made
a) that there is a growing trend for private sector to lose data now as compared to prevalence of public sector up to now
b) a reminder that a lot of govt data handling is outsourced - eg: HMRC, NHS
c) a reminder that at present there is NO obligation on private sector to report losses of data and every incentive for them to remain shtum
d) a reminder that ICO currently has NO powers to require audit of private organisations/corporations
so - up to now - if private companies lost data, and no one "noticed" outside the organisation, they have a real incentive to just cover it up. And if they DO cover it up the ICO has no power to investigate their systems or require an audit. He can only issue an assessment if someone else complains and has evidence of the loss.
See follow up to the DPO conference and a report on how we got on there making representations about Phorm and BT's own data leaks and snooping, by going to this thread - our report will be up soon.
Proposals currently going through in s8 of Coroners and Justice Bill (yes that one) to give increased powers to ICO to enforce audits in private sector.
Well duh, Where do you think all that bad debt the "chums" bought and got bailed out of came from? Thin air?
MOST laws are not properly enforced.
It is a criminal offence for a mail order seller to state they are not responsible for loss or damage in transit -- because they ARE responsible in law, and misrepresenting their responsibility is misrepresentation, which is also the law.
Search for "I am not responsible" on ebay and you will find hundreds of business sellers doing just that.
It would be just a few seconds work for Trading Standards to find them and prosecute them. But no, they can't be bothered. And thus a well-meaning law has become all but worthless.
Every time data is lost, the CEO/Manager/Head Twonk, get's his/her personal details, bank balance, license number, address & photo displayed on the from cover of the Daily Mail.
AC: Of course, I don't lose data!
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