UK local governments have reported over 4,236 data breaches between April 2011 and April 2014, according to a study by UK watchdog, Big Brother Watch.
The study also found data breaches had significantly increased compared to the previous 3 year period, which recorded 1035 data losses by UK local government authorities between April 2008 and April 2011.
Most of data breaches occurred “due to some form of human error, due to poor training or staff being unaware of their responsibilities”, however despite this, in 68% of data breaches no disciplinary action was taken the report found.
Reported data breaches included:
- 401 instances of data being lost or stolen
- 99 cases of unauthorised people accessing or disclosing data
- 5,293 letters were sent to the wrong address or contained personal information not intended for the recipient
- 628 incidents of incorrect or inappropriate data was shared on emails, letters and faxes
- 159 cases of data being shared with a third party
- 658 children’s personal data was involved in a data breach
- 197 mobile phones, computers, tablets and USBs were lost or stolen
The report suggests mandatory reporting of data breaches, data protection training for staff handling personal information and custodial sentences as some of the recommendations to reduce wrongful access to personal information and minimise data breaches.
Read the full report.