Council laptop lapses

Two local authorities have been fined by the Information Commissioner's Office for data protection breaches after laptops containing unencrypted information went missing.

Ealing Council and Hounslow Council were fined £80,000 and £70,000, respectively. Ealing's breach arose because two laptops were stolen from the home of an employee. Hounslow's breach arose because it did not have a written contract with Ealing Council.

Tom Morrison, IP partner at Rollits LLP, says: "It has been made crystal clear that every organisation that uses laptop computers must make sure that they are encrypted and not just password protected. 

"If you outsource a function-such as the processing of payroll or in this case the operation of an out of hours service-to a contractor then it is you rather than the contractor who retains primary liability for compliance with the Act."

Article first published in New Law Journal 17 February 2011

Posted on: 22/03/2011

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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