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Accountants in WImbledon: £750,000 fine for data breach … it could have been £5.6 million!

A spreadsheet released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in response to a freedom of information request inadvertently contained personal information about all 9,483 serving PSNI officers and staff. This sensitive data, which was included in a “hidden” tab in the spreadsheet, was published online.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) determined that PSNI’s internal procedures and sign-off protocols for safely disclosing information were insufficient.

The release of this information has profoundly affected many lives. Due to fears for their safety, some individuals have had to relocate, sever ties with family members, or drastically change their daily routines. This incident has understandably caused significant anxiety and distress not only for those directly impacted but also for their families and friends.

The ICO has provisionally fined the PSNI £750,000 for this breach. However, applying a “public sector approach,” the ICO aimed to ensure that public funds are not diverted from essential services. Without this approach, the fine would have been set at £5.6 million!

Considering the severe consequences, both personal and financial, this case highlights the importance of businesses having robust measures in place to protect personal information.

For more details, visit the ICO’s official statement.

To ensure your business is compliant with data protection regulations and to safeguard personal information, get in touch with our Wimbledon accountants. We can help you implement the necessary protocols to avoid such breaches.

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