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Customer services officer guilty of unlawfully accessing private information in social housing data breach

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Social housing providers deal with a lot of sensitive and personal information. So it is vital that there are robust protections in place to keep this data secure. However, in a recent social housing data breach case, a former customer services officer at Stockport Homes Limited (SHL) has been found guilty of unlawfully accessing personal data without a legitimate reason to do so.

What happened in this social housing data breach?

In this case, a customer services officer spent time looking at anti-social behaviour cases on her employer's case management system. Despite the fact that she didn't have the authorisation to do so. In total, she accessed the system almost 70 times.

When an audit revealed her offences (after concerns were raised regarding her performance), she was suspended from her role. She then subsequently resigned.

The former customer services officer pled guilty to unlawfully accessing personal data. She was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £364.08 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

What has the ICO said about the data protection breach?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is the UK's data protection regulator. A spokesperson for the ICO said:

"People have the absolute right to expect that their personal information will be treated with the utmost privacy and in strict accordance with the UK's data protection laws.

"Our prosecution of this individual should act as a clear warning that we will pursue and take action against those who choose to abuse their position of trust".

Read all the details about this ICO case here.

Lessons learned

This social housing data breach case should remind people that they could face fines if they access or share personal data without a valid reason.

Also, all organisations need to do more to protect personal data. This includes ensuring comprehensive data protection training is in place. And making sure employees understand the consequences of breaking the law.

Organisations should have adequate and robust protections to ensure that such information is only available to people who need it. There should also be a record of such access.

Not Just Hackers

At Hayes Connor, our expert solicitors deal with a significant number of data breach cases each and every day. During our work, we see many different types of claims and understand how social housing data breaches can affect people in different ways.

Helping to reduce the number of data violations taking place across the UK, we are sharing such real-life examples of data protection breaches to raise awareness of this issue and educate people to prevent similar instances from happening.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow the Hayes Connor #NotJustHackers campaign onTwitterandFacebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a social housing data breach,find out how we can help you to recover any lossesor contact us to discuss your case in more depth.