Digital representation of a data breach

Information from Council letters leaked

Thousands of details from letters, that were being stored digitally by a third-party have been leaked online, and subsequently indexed by popular search engine, Google.

The letters included personal information, such as names and addresses as well as insolvency letters and final reminders of unpaid council tax.

The victims of the leak were mostly people who had been financially hit by the pandemic.

The leak has called into question how councils perform their due diligence when outsourcing part of their work to private firms, particularly when dealing with residents’ personal information, as with letters.

One of the councils affected by this breach is Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, who state that the data that they had leaked was not of a sensitive nature.

The Council said:

"Virtual Mail Room has confirmed a data breach and the Information Commissioner's Office has been notified. We've been informed that the data exposed is very limited in nature and not sensitive.

"We take data protection very seriously and are currently working closely with Virtual Mail Room to understand how this has happened and what measures are now in place to ensure this does not happen again."

"We take data protection very seriously and are currently working closely with Virtual Mail Room to understand how this has happened and what measures are now in place to ensure this does not happen again. Once we have a full understanding, we will agree the most appropriate course of action.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that they are aware of the leak and are making enquiries, although they haven’t made further comments specific to this case, however a spokesperson from ICO said:

“People have the right to expect that organisations will handle their personal information securely and responsibly.

"When a data incident occurs, we would expect an organisation to consider whether it is appropriate to contact the people affected, and to consider whether there are steps that can be taken to protect them from any potential adverse effects.”

The company who had their data breached, Virtual Mail Room, offer councils the ability to upload documents, contact lists and track the progress of mail-outs and generate reports.

The information that was leaked has since been recovered, although it was publicly available since June.

Accelerating the use of data

PSE Oct/Nov 22

Accelerating the use of data

Our October/November edition of PSE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of public sector topics, from levelling up, the cost of living crisis. Learn about EV infrastructure, or how the change of a Prime Minister can affect public sector aims.

Videos...

View all videos
#PSE365: Public Sector Levelling up

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public SectorLevelling up Virtual Event | 17 Nov 2022

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 

Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Upcoming Webinar

Webinar: Driving sustainability & value through technology end-of-life

End-of-life is often overlooked yet is equally as important to a digital strategy, but what happens to end-of-life technology? What is the impact on the environment, net zero targets? What is the financial impact, is value for money for the taxpayer simply discarded and destroyed along with the technology?
 

Join us on 13 September between 2:00pm-2:45pm where we look to address the lifecycle of a digital strategy with a focus on end-of-life using examples, achieving efficiency, increased sustainability and delivering cost savings.


Guest Panellists:

Adam Turner, Head of Government and Public Sector Sustainable ICT and Digital, DEFRA
Ben Levin, Senior Manager, Technology Assesment and Criteria Development, Global Electronics Council
Fredrik Forslund, Vice President, Enterprise & Cloud Erasure Solutions, Blancco
Ben Tongue, Digital Net Zero Lead, NHS England

More articles...

View all