Legislative Changes Needed

The Justice Committee of the House of Commons has issued a report titled Protection of Private Data. The report is the result of an inquiry prompted by the November 2007 loss by Revenue and Customs of two CDs containing personal and banking information belonging to all child benefit claimants. The Committee took evidence from Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and David Smith, his deputy, about the case and the issue of protection of personal data held by the government and other agencies. The Committee concluded that there was evidence of a widespread problem within the government relating to establishing and adequately operating systems for data protection. The Justice Committee recommends a number of legislative changes, including data breach reporting obligations, making significant security breaches a criminal offence, and better funding and greater powers for the Information Commissioner.


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