Data Protection Commissioner

Press Release

11 August 2008

Loss of Department of Social and Family Affairs information held by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

The loss of information by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General relating to clients of the Department of Social and Family Affairs was reported to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner last week.

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes sees this as a serious incident and has expressed concern at the potential implications for those affected by this breach of data security.  His Office is investigating the matter.  The Commissioner has spoken with the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. John Buckley, in relation to the incident and senior officials from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner will hold initial discussions with the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General this week.  The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is also liaising closely with the Department of Social and Family Affairs.  The Commissioner greatly welcomes the manner in which the Department are seeking to address this issue by undertaking to contact all of those directly affected by this incident.  The Department is also putting in place a dedicated helpdesk to provide further information as required to those who are affected. The Commissioner considers that this represents best practice and a truly first rate response in the circumstances.

The Commissioner also expects that all major holders of personal data in the public and private sector will be fully examining all their policies in relation to the collection and storage of data to ensure that incidents of this scale and nature can be avoided in future.  He will be working to ensure that his Office can provide whatever assistance is necessary in this regard.

For more information about data protection, please go to www.dataprotection.ie






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