The UK's data protection legislation is not new; however, the Information Commissioner's power to levy fines for serious breaches of the eight data protection principles are a recent addition to the armoury.
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With some fanfare, the first penalties have just been handed down, and publicly announced, by the ICO, and they'll sting those on the receiving end of them.
The penalties announced involved Hertfordshire Country Council who were fined £100,000 after staff twice sent faxes with highly sensitive information to the wrong recipients; and in the private sector, employment agency A4e were fined £60,000 for giving an unencrypted laptop containing full personal details on 24,000 people to an employee working from home.
These fines will not be the last to be issued and it's worth noting that the ICO can levy fines of up to £500,000. Any business or organisation processing personal data should acquaint themselves with the