THE UK'S INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE (ICO) has fined the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for losing recordings of police interviews with sexual abuse victims.
The CPS - which, let's be honest, ought to know better - must hand over £325,000 for the breach, which saw it misplace unencrypted DVDs containing interviews with 15 victims who were abused as children, which were to be used at a trial.
"The DVDs contained the most intimate sensitive details of the victims, as well as the sensitive personal data of the perpetrator, and some identifying information about other parties," the ICO groaned.
The DVDs were lost after being sent by tracked delivery between two CPS offices in November 2016. The delivery was made outside office hours, and the disks - which the ICO notes were not in tamper-proof packaging - were left in the reception, an area that anyone with access to the shared building could access.
The CPS didn't realise that the DVDs had gone missing until the following month, and didn't notify victims until March 2017.
Steve Eckersley, Head of Enforcement, said: "The victims of serious crimes entrusted the CPS to look after their highly sensitive personal data - a loss in trust could influence victims' willingness to report serious crimes.
"The CPS failed to take basic steps to protect the data of victims of serious sexual offences. Given the nature of the personal data, it should have been obvious that this information must be properly safeguarded, as its loss could cause substantial distress.
"The CPS must take urgent action to demonstrate that it can be trusted with the most sensitive information."
It's unlikely the CPS will learn its lesson, as this is the second time it had been punished for the loss of sensitive video recordings. Back in November 2016, the ICO whacked the firm with a £200,000 fine after it became the victim of a burglary in which laptops containing police witness video interviews were taken. µ
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