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New Data Protection Baron has his work cut out as data breaches top 1,000

The minister responsible for data protection issues in the Ministry of Justice has been named as Lord McNally. A former Labour MP who held international posts under Prime Minister Callaghan and then defected to the Liberal Democrats is the Liberal leader in the House of Lords.

His early focus will undoubtedly be on stemming the increasing flow of lost personal data from Government departments and agencies. As the number of breaches reported to the ICO has topped 1000, there is clearly room for improvement.

Meanwhile the ICO is advocating better data awareness and training to avoid unauthorised disclosures. Staff need simple procedures on how to handle personal information. David Smith, Deputy Commissioner, said: “We all know that mistakes can happen but, the fact is that human error is behind a high proportion of security breaches that have been reported to us. Extra vigilance is required so that people’s personal information does not end up in the wrong hands.”

Meanwhile the DMA has reported that a new study from Price Waterhouse Coopers has found the number and cost of security breaches are rising. The latest figures show a staggering 92% of large organisations had a security incident in 2009; 20% more than 2008. The costs are going up too and can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

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