Council data breach impacts tens of thousands of south Warwickshire residents - The Stratford Observer

Council data breach impacts tens of thousands of south Warwickshire residents

Stratford Editorial 16th Feb, 2024   0

TENS of thousands of south Warwickshire residents have fallen victim of a council data breach.

When Stratford District Council revealed in November last year that it had been subject of a data breach, initial investigations showed that it was restricted to a database of email addresses which had been supplied to the council by residents of Stratford district, with no further personal data affected.

But further investigations have since found that the breach also extended to a database of email addresses of Warwick District Council residents held by SDC as part of the joint working between the two councils.

Around 79,000 email addresses from the garden waste collection database were affected. These email addresses were taken by a member of staff with the purpose of promoting a business not related to the council.

Due to the theft of personal information, the matter was also referred to Warwickshire Police who carried out their own investigation and have issued the individual concerned with a caution for “knowingly/recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data without the consent of the controller”.

The member of staff is no longer employed by SDC and has sincerely apologised for their actions and assurances have been received from Warwickshire Police, that all the information that was taken has been deleted.

SDC chief executive David Buckland said: “On behalf of the council I would like to apologise for this data breach. When the council was alerted to this, we immediately began a full investigation to understand how this happened.

“It is important to stress that this information only contained email addresses, it did not contain any bank details, or names and addresses. We have concluded through our investigations that this data breach was a deliberate act by an individual, and not a breakdown of the robust internal controls we have in place.”

WDC chief executive Chris Elliott said: “Despite the robust procedures in place to protect resident’s information, it has been very disappointing to find that an employee has acted independently for their own gain. I would like to reassure our residents that this was an isolated incident, and I am satisfied that the necessary steps have been taken and the data breach is now resolved.”

The matter was reported by both councils to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and they have confirmed that under the circumstances they will not be taking any action against either authority.

Mr Buckland added: “I would like to reassure residents that this was an isolated incident. The district council takes the protection of people’s data seriously and the systems we have in place are safe.”

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