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2011, feb 24
Cambridgeshire's council was criticised

Cambridgeshire County Council is the most recent local authority to be dressed down for contravening the Data Protection Act, following a case involving a lack of USB encryption.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK's data watchdog, explained how the council lost an unencrypted memory stick containing personal information on six vulnerable adults under its jurisdiction.

This memory stick was used when the employee who lost it had difficulty using the USB offering handed to him by the council. The compounding issue was that the breach happened after the council launched an internal campaign highlighting the importance of personal information.

ICO enforcement group manager Sally Anne Poole said: "While Cambridgeshire County Council clearly recognises the importance of encrypting devices in order to keep personal data secure, this case shows that organisations need to check that their data protection policies are continually followed and fully understood by staff."

Earlier this month, the ICO fined two councils for failing to ensure the laptops were encrypted; Ealing Council took a £80,000 fine, while Hounslow Council was charged £70,000.

By Jason Arrington
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