ICO warns data breaches put domestic abuse victims' lives at risk

27/09/2023 | ICO

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned organisations to handle personal information properly to avoid putting victims of domestic abuse at risk. The warning comes after the ICO confirmed it reprimanded seven organisations in the past 14 months for data protection violations affecting victims of domestic abuse. 

The blog post highlighted how organisations can do more by training staff and implementing appropriate systems to avoid such incidents. 

Information Commissioner John Edwards said, "This pattern must stop. Organisations should be doing everything necessary to protect the personal information in their care. The reprimands issued in the past year make clear that mistakes were made and that organisations must resolve the issues that lead to these breaches in the first place... Getting the basics right is simple – thorough training, double checking records and contact details, restricting access to information - all these things reduce the risk of even greater harm."

In a blog post responding to the news, data protection specialist Jon Baines called the practice of issuing reprimands for serious data protection violations "light-touch regulation" that is likely to lead to further incidents because "organisations believe they can act (or fail to act) with impunity."

In closing, Baines asks Mr Edwards to answer the question: "Are you confident that your approach is not leading to poorer compliance?"

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Domestic abuse

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