What’s on your phone?

Kent Police has been fined £80,000 after sensitive personal details of a woman who accused her partner of domestic abuse were passed to the suspect. 

Stephen Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said:

“Kent Police was investigating a serious matter yet the need to take proper care of the personal details they were entrusted with does not appear to have been taken seriously.

The woman had given her phone to Kent Police because it contained a video recording she said supported her accusation against her partner, (who was a police officer). Her phone also contained lots of other files, with sensitive personal data including text messages and family photographs.

The officer was subject to a professional standards investigation by Kent Police into misconduct. Kent Police sent the officer’s solicitor the data contained in the woman’s mobile phone by mistake in advance of the misconduct hearing. The solicitor then disclosed the information to his client.

An ICO investigation found that Kent Police had inappropriate security measures, and that it had committed a serious breach of the law, likely to have caused substantial distress.

DATAHELP COMMENT

This incident shows just how careful organisations have to be with mobile devices. These often contain the owner’s personal information, some of which can be sensitive. Think before you share!

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