ICO takes action after estate agent leaves customers' data on stree
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal
ICO takes action after estate agent leaves customers' data on streeImage: Confidential via Shutterstock
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has taken action after a London estate agent continued to leave papers containing personal information on the street.
Last December, the ICO was informed that an outlet owned by Thamesview Estate Agents was leaving papers containing personal information in transparent bags on the street with the information clearly visible to anyone who walked past.
The ICO warned the company that it must improve its compliance with the Data Protection Act by disposing of the information securely.
However, in March the ICO was contacted by the original complainant and informed that the outlet was still leaving its customers’ information in the street.
The ICO found that the estate agent’s staff were not aware that they were acting in breach of the company’s guidance on the secure disposal of confidential waste.
Thamesview Estate Agents also had no contract in place with the companies hired to securely dispose of their branches’ private documentation.
ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: “Customers of Thamesview Estate Agents will be rightly concerned that their information was left on a street for all to see. The papers visible to the public included copies of customer’s passports and details of previous tax payments. This could be all a fraudster would need to steal someone’s identity.
“Despite a previous warning from our office, the company failed to address this issue. This is why we’ve served the business with an undertaking committing them to improving the way they handle their customers’ information.”
The firm has now signed an undertaking committing it to making sure all of its branches keep the personal information of their customers secure.
It must also introduce refresher training for all staff by 31 December 2014 and make sure that formal contracts are in place with any companies responsible for destroying its customers’ information.