Last orders for contractor who left USB drive in pub

A contractor has paid the price for leaving unencrypted personal data lying around in a pub – the fall guy for another council data breach involving thousands of personal details.

Last orders for contractor who left USB drive in pub

The contractor for Wandle and Lewisham housing associations was blamed for the data loss from a USB stick in March. The stick contained personal details of over 20,000 tenants of Lewisham Homes and 6,200 tenants of the Wandle Housing Association.

According to the ICO, nearly 800 of the records belonging to Lewisham tenants also contained their bank account details, and the at least one client has now sacked the contractor.

Although the ICO issues enforcement warnings to the housing associations – forcing them to agree to tighten procedures – the privacy watchdog was unable to take any action against the contractor.

“The breach was sourced to the data controller, so responsibility falls to him even though it was the contractor that left the memory stick behind,” a spokesperson for the ICO told PC Pro, adding that it was up the the associations to take any action against the contractor.

This was in breach of our Data Protection procedures and as a result of this breach the contractor has now been dismissed

The councils, however, say they have taken action, with the contractor sacked.

“In March 2011, without our knowledge, one of our contractors took confidential information and put it onto a data stick which he subsequently lost,” Lewisham Homes said in a statement.

“This was in breach of our Data Protection procedures and as a result of this breach the contractor has now been dismissed.”

Wandle Housing Association called any disciplinary action as “an internal affair” but said the contractor was not currently working for the association.

The drive was handed in to the police after being found.

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