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Important information for Barristers, Solicitors and those in the legal profession.

Happy Tuesday Everybody,

Today we want to pass on some vital information from the Information Commissioners Office for those that work in the legal sector.

Last week the Information Commissioners Office issued a stark warning to barristers and solicitors. The warning is for them to take greater care with personal information and ensure it is kept secure, particularly in the area of the security and protection of paper files. The nature of the work legal professionals undertake means they handle a lot of personal and sensitive data on a daily basis.

The damage that a data breach in relation to this information could cause is significant and often could meet the statutory threshold for issuing monetary penalties. The Information Commissioners Office has the power to issue fines of up to £500,000 for any serious breach of the Data Protection Act.

This warning has been issued due to an increase over the last three months in the number of data breaches reported to the ICO, that come from the legal sector. There have been 15 reported breaches coming from the legal sector in the past 12 weeks. Whilst this may not seem like a large number of breaches to some, again we need to take into consideration the nature of these breaches and the sensitivity of the data that is held by legal professionals. The damage that could potentially arise from these breaches is significant.

Paper files are often the weak link in the security chain for legal professionals, as they are needed to be taken to and from court and are worked on both at home and at work.

 

It is important to remember that when considering the issue of monetary penalties for a data breach, the Information Commissioners Office takes into account the potential harm that could be caused and the actual damage done. The potential to cause harm is a significant determining factor.

 

To help the legal profession to stay secure the ICO have published the top tips shown in the video below.

[youtube id=kbD6_n4D45w width=”600″ height=”350″]

 

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