Welcome Financial Services Limited (WFSL) has been fined £150,000 after the loss of more than half a million customers’ details.
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, revealed details of the fine in his organisation’s 2011/12 annual report.
The civil monetary penalty (CMP) was issued after WFSL’s Shopacheck business lost two back up tapes which contained the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their customers in November last year. The tapes have never been recovered.
“Over the past year the ICO has bared its teeth and has taken effective action to punish organisations many of which have shown a cavalier attitude to looking after people’s personal information,” said Graham.
“This year we have seen some truly shocking examples, with sensitive personal information, including health records and court documents, being lost or misplaced, causing considerable distress to those concerned. This is not acceptable and today’s penalty shows just how much information can be lost if organisations don’t keep people’s details secure.
“We hope these penalties send a clear message to both the public and private sectors that they cannot afford to fail when it comes to handling people’s data correctly.”
The penalty on WFSL means that, since being given the power to issue CMPs from 6 April 2010, the ICO has issued 21 penalty notices, bringing the total value of the penalties issued by the ICO to over £2 million.