Local authority data loss exposed

Big Brother Watch has published a report into the worrying scale of data loss across local authorities.

We have uncovered more than 1000 incidents across 132 local authorities, including at least 35 councils who have lost information about children and those in care.

Highly confidential information has been treated without the proper care and respect it deserves. At least 244 laptops and portable computers were lost, while a minimum of 98 memory sticks and more than 93 mobile devices went missing.

Yet of the 1035 incidents, local authorities reported that just 55 were reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Perhaps more concerning, just 9 incidents resulted in termination of employment.

You can read the report here, including a full list of the incidents reported by every local authority.

Big Brother Watch believes the growing volume of personal information held by local authorities is a significant threat to personal privacy and civil liberties. This report highlights how, despite data protection law, not enough is being done to ensure sensite information is held securely and protected.

Responding to our report, Grant Shapps, Minister for Local Government, said:

“I welcome this research by Big Brother Watch. This reinforces the need for steps to protect the privacy of law-abiding local residents. Civil liberties are under threat from the abuse of town hall surveillance powers, municipal nosy parkers rummaging through household bins and town hall officials losing sensitive personal data on children in care.”