Fifty personal breaches were reported to The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) in the two months up to 25 June 2019, the highest figure since mandatory breach reporting was brought in on 25 May 2018.
Forty-two of the total were due to personal data being sent, via email or post, to the wrong person. The remaining eight took place due to criminal hacking, people accessing personal data inappropriately, or data being lost.
The Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins confirmed she is encouraged that the regulated community trusts her office to respond proportionately to dealing with such breaches.
“We want to support a culture that is focussed on delivering the best outcomes and recognise the part we play. A mature system of self-reporting of data breaches provides transparency and an opportunity to learn from events, improve performance and reduce risk. Recognising that in an increasingly data-rich world, both human error and technological error are inevitable, we want to avoid a culture of blame and encourage a moreconstructive culture of sharing, questioning and improvement.
“We discourage an adversarial, blame-focussed approach and encourage a collaborative one which in turn allows the regulated community to positively engage with their legal and ethical responsibilities in an enlightened way, rather than through fear of sanction”, she added.
A personal data breach will likely happen whenever any personal data is accidentally lost, corrupted or disclosed, or if someone accesses it or passes it on without proper authorisation to do so.
Mrs Martins concluded, “there will always be a small minority of our regulated community that only responds to threat of enforcement. Our local data protection law gives us greater powers than ever before but the significant powers of sanction available should not mean that we only talk in those terms. If we do, we risk alienating the vast majority of our community who are, in our experience, trying to do the right thing. By focussing on providing them with the information, support and tools is not only a more positive use of our time, it can reduce harm and lead to better outcomes for everyone.”