ICO issue warning about data protection breaches

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The Information Commissioners Office has published a warning about the implications of contravening data security legislation after an NHS administrator was fined a total of £694.08 including costs and a victim surcharge after pleading guilty to unlawfully accessing personal data in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.  Medway Magistrates Court heard that the defendant had accessed the records of a single patient 279 times in three weeks, with no valid reason or consent for her actions.

The ICO Criminal Enforcement Group Manage, Mike King, provided the following statement:
“Employees, who in many cases are very experienced and capable, are getting into serious trouble and often losing their jobs, usually over little more than personal curiosity.
“The laws on data protection are there for a reason and people have the right to know their highly sensitive personal information will be treated with appropriate privacy and respect. The ICO will continue to take action against those who abuse their position and potentially jeopardise the important relationship of trust between patients and the NHS.”

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