European Data Protection Digest

MP's Document Disposal Breached Privacy

DATA LOSS—UK

November 18, 2011

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham says that Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin violated the Data Protection Act when, on numerous occasions, he disposed of constituents' documents in a St. James' Park dustbin, reports The Guardian. An Information Commissioner's Office investigation revealed that the documents contained personal data of approximately 20 individuals, including names, addresses, contact details--and, in at least one case, an individual's recent medical treatment. Graham said, "Constituents entrust their Member of Parliament with all sorts of personal information and should never expect the details of the concerns they've raised in confidence to end up in a park bin for anyone to see." Letwin has signed a commitment ensuring he will securely handle sensitive documents in the future.
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