A former local authority education worker who illegally shared personal information about schoolchildren and their parents has been prosecuted.
[Name, age redacted], took a screenshot of a council spreadsheet concerning children and their eligibility for free school meals before sending it to the estranged parent of one of the pupils via Snapchat.
The image included the names, addresses, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of 37 pupils and their parents. She also sent a copy of a school admission record relating to another child.
The defendant was at the time employed as an apprentice in the schools admissions department of Southwark Council and had received training in data protection. She declined to answer any questions when interviewed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
[Name, address redacted], London, appeared before Westminster magistrates and admitted three offences of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing personal data, in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. She was fined £850 and was also ordered to pay £713 costs.
ICO Criminal Enforcement Manager Mike Shaw said:
“This is yet another example of how people whose jobs give them access to personal data can end up in serious trouble after allowing temptation to get the better of them.
”Parents have the right to know that their personal information, and that of their children, is being treated with respect and in accordance with the law. Anybody who ignores that right and that law has to accept the consequences.”
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- 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.
- 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.
- The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The Government has confirmed the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR. The Government is introducing measures related to this and wider data protection reforms in a Data Protection Bill.
- 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.
- 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.
- Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns