Data Protection breach – has it happened to you?
A victim of domestic abuse took legal action against the Greater Manchester Police after she discovered a major breach of data protection and misuse of her personal details.
The victim had previously telephoned 999 following an incident. She subsequently allowed the police force to use anonymised details of her case for training purposes in the hope that it would help the police, and other agencies, in their handling of reporting cases of domestic abuse and assisting victims.
She later discovered that her identity, medical history and a taped recording of the actual 999 call were used. As a result she suffered psychiatric harm due to having very sensitive and personal material made public. This was compounded by the delays and difficulties in establishing exactly what material the Greater Manchester Police had used. She then had to endure the litigation process and undergo examination by a psychiatrist to establish what harm had been caused by the breach of duty on the part of Greater Manchester Police.
The victim was awarded £75,000.00, one of the largest ever awards in this type of case. Her case was won on the basis of breach of the Data Protection Act 1998; misuse of private information and breach of confidentiality, causing her significant psychiatric harm. Greater Manchester Police have apologised and taken steps to ensure that this would not happen again in the future.
The very significant award in this case reflects the seriousness of the breach of duty and level of psychiatric injury caused by the misuse of extremely private and sensitive information.
With more and more private information being collated and stored, misuse of personal data is becoming an increasing issue with the ever expanding field, and scope, of the internet and social media. Workplace databases with inadequate protection and safeguarding of personal data are also creating breaches of data protection.
If you believe that you have been affected by misuse of personal data please contact us on 02890329801 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.