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Encryption of sensitive information


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7 November 2012

The importance of encrypting sensitive personal data

The (ICO) Information Commissioners Office recently issued a warning to those sending and storing sensitive personal data. In particular the ICO fined Stoke-on-Trent City Council 120,000 due to a failure to comply with data protection legislation. A member of staff at the local authority sent emails on a highly sensitive child protection case to the wrong person.

The head of enforcement at the ICO commented:

- If the data had been encrypted, it would have stayed secure. Instead the authority has received a vast penalty for failing to adopt widely used security measures.

What is encryption?

In the most simplest terms, this type of software encodes messages or information in such a way that unauthorised people cannot view it. As a security measure it is common for those dealing with sensitive data to purchase encryption software. It is therefore vital that those dealing with sensitive personal data purchase encryption software and provide staff with training on the use of such software, as the likelihood is that the costs of the software and training of staff will amount to far less than a fine from the ICO if they are found in breach of data protection law.

By Rehana Ali, a paralegal at Lawdit Solicitors that may be contacted at

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-12-04 09:07:06 in Legal Articles

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