Taking action on privacy breaches

My new assistant Natalie Peck will be contributing to this blog in future. Here is her first post. Welcome to the blog Natalie!

This week, Britain’s information commissioner Christopher Graham announced he will finally start fining websites that breach people’s privacy.

Graham’s plans to “set the benchmark” for online data protection coincide with proposed regulations by the European Union for more stringent privacy measures, ensuring companies provide users with updates on how, why, by whom, and for how long their data is used.

Companies must also alert users to how then can delete all the information held on them if they decide to stop using a service. For example Facebook still holds photos, wall posts and other data long after an individual account has been deactivated.

Google has also been at the centre of the privacy debate, with recent revelations that the company collected wifi data during the controversial Streetview mapping of the UK. The company was recently accused of a “staggering” invasion of privacy by Conservative MP Mark Lancaster.

It’s one thing for the public’s privacy to be invaded but entirely another when that breach concerns a Member of Parliament. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has sprung into action after MPs’ personal details were accidentally put at risk on the expenses database. The data included bank details, number plates and home phone numbers. The system’s admin account will now be regularly reviewed and implement further security measures.

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