Friday, May 18, 2012

1,000 Government Employees Disciplined for Unauthorized Access to Citizens' Private Data

Over 1,000 government employees have been disciplined for ’snooping’ on private citizens’ medical and social security data for over 2 years in UK government's applications and databases.

All of these employees had been given authorized access to the sensitive personal data only after passing a lengthy vetting process. But they went beyond the boundaries of their job and made “unauthorised disclosures of official, sensitive, private and/or personal information”.
"Just about anyone with access to a wealth of personally identifiable information has the opportunity to make a lot of money selling that data on the black markets."
Extremely sensitive medical and personal data at both the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions and The Department for Health were the targets of the unauthorized access.

The information was brought to light via a Freedom of Information request Channel 4’s investigative series, Dispatches

The UK Data Protection Act makes it a crime to obtain or disclose personal data without permission or procure disclosure to other persons. The penalties for a criminal offense are unlimited fine in a higher Crown court and limited to £5,000 ($7,900) in a lower magistrates court.
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Sources:
(a) UK government staff caught snooping on citizen data - zDNet, May 17, 2012
(a) UK government breached from the inside, 1,000+ workers disciplined - VentureBeat, May 18, 2012

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