ICO raps two for stolen unencrypted laptops

The Information Commissioner's Office has received undertakings to improve data protection from a London borough and a motor vehicle repair advice centre...

The Information Commissioner's Office has received undertakings to improve data protection from a London borough and a motor vehicle repair advice centre following the loss of personal data that included driving convictions.

The ICO found that thieves stole an unencrypted laptop belonging to Blackburn-based Repair Management Services (formerly MVRA) from a locked car in a public car park. It contained the personal information of approximately 36,800 individuals and details of 1,900 motoring convictions.

The ICO found London Borough of Sutton in breach of the Data Protection Act after several data losses. These included the loss of a paper file with personal data on 73 individuals who were receiving social care, and the theft of two unencrypted laptops.

One laptop contained social care data of 39 individuals and the other contained information relating to nine children being taught by a teacher employed by the council. A package of documents also went missing when a courier used by the council left it with the recipient's neighbour.

Sally-Anne Poole, head of enforcement & investigations at the ICO, said: "It is vital that personal data is handled securely. This is an important principle of the Data Protection Act."

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