ARE YOU ENTRUSTED WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS’ PERSONAL DATA?

Close up of dictionary definition of nformationAre you Protecting this Enough?

One of the many challenges and responsibilities facing companies in a customer facing business is that we receive personal data of the people we are selling to, much of which can be highly confidential.  The law protecting those who entrust us with this information is g overned by the Data Protection Act.  How often do we hear that we cannot be given information because of the Data Protection Act?  A recent example demonstrates the importance that businesses should place on ensuring that people’s personal data is protected. The consequences of not protecting the personal data of others are clearly wide reaching.

ACS Law are a firm of Solicitors who were involved in acting for companies looking at, amongst other things, illegal file sharing.  They had Court Orders in place that forced internet service providers to give them personal details of people who were alleged to have downloaded material illegally.  This has caused ACS to incur the wrath of 4chan, an organisation of internet users who believe in free file sharing.  They attacked the ACS website bringing it down in what is known as a “denial of service attack”.

Unfortunately for ACS Law when the site was recovered from backup, tapes, personal data of those people who were involved in the illegal file sharing were somehow uploaded onto the site.  This was manna from heaven for 4chan who then distributed those details around the internet.  As a result ACS Law face an investigation, not only by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) – their own regulatory body – but also an investigation from the Information Commissioner and a fine of up to £500,000.  In addition, any of the people whose details have been posted on the internet can bring a claim against ACS Law for damages.

In short, it is not enough to say that you comply with the Data Protection Act; you must ensure positively that you are protecting the personal data of others who entrust you with this information.

For more information contact Niall Head-Rapson at McDaniel & Co

Email: nhr@mcdanielslaw.com or visit the McDaniel & Co website
Tel: 0191 212 5594

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