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BBW: between 2011 and 2014 there were 4 daily data breaches on average

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August 11, 2015

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A survey published today by British privacy rights group Big Brother Watch (BBW) suggests that the scale of private data security breaches being leaked in the wild is so huge that those responsible should be in federal prison for several years.

Overall, between 2011 and 2014, local councils experienced an average of about four data security breaches a day-– a total of 4,236 instances to be exact, according to numbers compiled by the BBW.

In the 3 years covered by the report, more than 400 devices, including 180 mobile phones, computers, tablets and USBs, were either lost or stolen.

In a further 600 cases, information was inappropriately shared among third parties. And the BBW is disturbed that so far, just one single person has faced criminal sanctions, despite the big number of security breaches happening at regular intervals.

No less than fifty breaches were outright dismissed and another thirty-nine were resigned, but BBW says this does not go far enough, particularly as children’s information was involved in a staggering 658 cases.

“Current penalties for serious data security breaches do not deter criminals who are seriously considering breaking the law,” the report suggests, adding that “where a serious data breach is uncovered, the individual should be given a criminal record” to prevent them moving to a new organization and doing the same thing over again.

With human error being the main reason behind the vast number of security breaches, BBW says data protection training should be mandatory for members of staff with access to personal information as well as mandatory reporting rules for breaches that concern members of the public.

Despite local councils being trusted with increasing amounts of our personal data, this report highlights that they are not able at all to confirm that the data is safe within their organizations.

And a number of other examples also reveal shockingly lax attitudes in protecting personal information. For so many children and young people, to have had their personal information compromised is deeply disturbing.

“Until we see these policies implemented, the public will simply not be able to trust local councils with their data,” said Emma Carr, BBW privacy campaign director.

Source: Big Brother Watch.

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