ICO slaps Hertfordshire council and A4e with hefty fines

The Information Commissioner's Office has used newly granted powers and slapped Hertfordshire County Council with a hefty fine of £100,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act.

In June, Hertfordshire County Council faxed highly sensitive details of a child sex abuse case to the wrong recipient. The blunder was repeated merely thirteen days later, when another fax was sent to the wrong recipient.

Issuing the fine, Commissioner Christopher Graham said, "I am concerned at this breach - not least because the local authority allowed it to happen twice within two weeks."

The privacy watchdog also fined Sheffield-based employment services company A4e, which will have to pay £60,000 for losing an unencrypted laptop containing personal information about thousands of people.

The ICO has recently been granted powers to levy financial penalties to deal effectively with breaches of Data Protection Act. The ICO has the power to levy fines of up to £ 500,000 on the guilty.

Mr. Graham said that the issued fines would send a strong message to those who handle personal data.