A new report released within the last week has concluded that compensation claims should be possible against Government agencies and private companies who lose sensitive personal data.
The report was commissioned by the ICO and Consumer Focus – a Government watchdog – who appear concerned that the rapid changes in society will damage civil liberties. The report recommends that people who are victims of misuse, careless distribution or illegal sale of personal information would be entitled to claim for compensation. Consumers should also be given more opportunity to control information such as medical records and bank details.
The growth of the internet and the “surveillance society” as a whole has seen personal data about individuals available on a much wider scale. The value of personal data has increased dramatically over recent years, and the digital revolution has also made the transport of data much easier. Instances of laptops and CD’s containing data about thousands of people being casually lost, left on trains etc. have been common. A famous case in 2007 saw the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs lose the data of 25 million people.
The report insists that it is a fundamental right for people to control who and what the world knows about them. Its final recommendation was to produce a name and shame list of the top 100 organisations which mishandle personal information