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UK Police Fined £120,000 for Data Breach

Greater Manchester Police received a fine of £120,000 from the Information Commissioners Office following the theft of an unencrypted memory stick from a police officer’s home.

Having no password protection and with details on more than 1,000 people linked to serious crime investigations, the memory stick theft is considered a serious data breach. The ICO found that other unencrypted memory sticks were also used by officers to copy sensitive data that was accessed from remote locations.

“This was truly sensitive personal data, left in the hands of a burglar by poor data security. The consequences of this type of breach really do send a shiver down the spine,” said David Smith, ICO Director of Data Protection. “It should have been obvious to the force that the type of information stored on its computers meant proper data security was needed. Instead, it has taken a serious data breach to prompt it into action.”

The ICO reviewed a similar security breach in September 2010 when insufficient restrictions on downloaded materials were investigated following a similar event. Although the imposed Civil Monetary Penalty originally totaled £150,000, a 20 percent discount was set because the fine was paid ahead of the due date.

“This is a substantial monetary penalty, reflecting the significant failings the force demonstrated. We hope it will discourage others from making the same data protection mistakes,” said Smith.

About the author


Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That's what's been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he's always ready to write about what's hot and trendy out there in geek universe.

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  • and officers that use memory sticks with plain text documents still working in police:)). Most of users with some it security knowledge use whole disk encryption+encrypted stick and all, and police that working with private data of thousands of people … use plain text :D beautiful