ICO fine lawyer £1000 for keeping personal information on their home computer

As a lawyer suffers an ICO fine of £1000 for keeping personal information on their home computer, we all need to think again about how home working, BYOD and pervasive computing is going to work.  With over 725 unencrypted documents from 250 people (including vulnerable adults), this is likely to be just the tip of an iceberg that will require everyone to think a little more about how they keep their data (and the information within) safe.

The obvious answer is to throw more technology at the problem.  An earlier review of Boxcryptor demonstrates how information can be stored in the cloud, on your hard disk and even on your phone in a safe way.  But in reality the problem lies not with the technology, but the way we are using it and telling it what to do.

Awareness of the risks and the impact of loss is far more likely to make people think about what they are doing and work in alternative and safe ways.

So to avoid an ICO fine, what are tips for Data Protection compliance on a home computer?

  1. Make yourself aware of your obligations and spread the word.  There are plenty of short on-line courses that spell out the core message and the ICO have their own videos.
  2. It’s all about risk mitigation, so just take a moment to think about what you are storing and where:
    1. Check your cloud providers.  Some are great, some not so.  If in doubt, encrypt your files in the cloud (it’s not that difficult).
    2. Don’t assume emails are a safe way to share information.  If in doubt, encrypt the files you send.
    3. Don’t assume your computer is safe.  Physical devices can be stolen or compromised (hacked) and information taken from them.
    4. Remember your backup’s will also contain those files.  Keep them safe and keep them secure (password protected).
  3. Keep yourself informed and about GDPR.


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