Unencrypted laptop lands company with £60,000 fine
24 November 2010
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A4e has been fined £60,000 by the Information Commissioner for losing an unencrypted laptop containing the details of thousands of people.
The company, which provides information on employment and starting a business, issued the unencrypted laptop containing information relating to 24,000 people, to an employee to work from home. The laptop was later stolen from the employee’s house and an attempt to access the data was made shortly afterwards.
Following the Information Commissioner’s ruling, A4e Chief Executive Andrew Dutton said in a statement on the company’s website:
"This incident was due to the burglary and theft of a laptop from an employee’s home… We welcome the Commissioner’s recognition that substantial remedial action has now been taken by A4e."
The computer contained personal information relating to 24,000 people who had used community legal advice centres in Hull and Leicester including full names, dates of birth, postcodes, employment status, income level and other information.
The commissioner ruled that A4e did not take reasonable steps to avoid the loss of the data, and said the incident "warranted nothing less than a monetary penalty as thousands of people's privacy was potentially compromised by the company's failure to take the simple step of encrypting the data".
He added: "These first monetary penalties send a strong message to all organisations handling personal information - get it wrong and you do substantial harm to individuals and the reputation of your business. You could also be fined up to half a million pounds."
Products such as the Gemalto .NET Smart Card and the Biocrpytodisk iSecure provide organisations and employees with confidence that their data is secure at all times, whether on site or mobile, and to ensure full compliance with internal IT security policies as well as legislation.
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