The ICO has fined Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance PLC (RSA) £150,000 following the loss of the personal information of nearly 60,000 customers.

An ICO investigation looked at the theft of a hard drive device containing 59,592 customers’ names, addresses and bank account details including account numbers and sort codes. The device also held limited credit card details of 20,000 customers, although CVC numbers and expiry dates were not affected.

ICO enforcement officers found that RSA did not have the appropriate measures in place to protect financial information by preventing the theft at its offices in West Sussex from happening. The device was stolen from company premises either by a member of staff or a contractor, the information on it was not encrypted and the device has never been recovered.

Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement said: 

“Customers put their trust in companies to keep their information safe, particularly financial information.

“When we looked at this case we discovered an organisation that simply didn’t take adequate precautions to protect customer information. Its failure to do so has caused anxiety for its customers not to mention potential fraud issues.

Mr Eckersley added:

“There are simple steps companies should take when using this type of equipment including using encryption, making sure the device is secure and routine monitoring of equipment. RSA did not do any of this and that’s why we’ve issued this fine.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  1. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  1. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
  • fairly and lawfully processed;
  • processed for limited purposes;
  • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • accurate and up to date;
  • not kept for longer than is necessary;
  • processed in line with your rights;
  • secure; and
  • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  1. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  1. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  1. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.