A senior barrister whose clients’ ‘highly sensitive’ details, including information related to family court proceedings, were accidentally uploaded online, has been fined £1,000.
Information belonging to up to 250 people - some of them vulnerable adults and children - was uploaded when the barrister’s husband updated software on the couple’s home computer.
The Information Commissioner's Office said 725 unencrypted documents, which were created and stored on the computer, were temporarily uploaded to an online directory and could be easily found through internet searches.
The barrister, who has not been named, became aware of the problem after a local authority solicitor informed her the documents could be viewed online.
In a monetary penalty notice published today the ICO described the breach as a ‘serious contravention’ of the Data Protection Act likely to cause ‘substantial damage or distress’.
According to the ICO notice, six of the files contained ‘confidential and highly sensitive’ information relating to people who were involved in proceedings in the Court of Protection and the Family Court.
Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO said: ‘People put their trust in lawyers to look after their data – that trust is hard won and easily lost.
‘This barrister, for no good reason, overlooked her responsibility to protect her clients’ confidential and highly sensitive information. It is hard to imagine the distress this could have caused to the people involved – even if the worst never happened, this barrister exposed her clients to unnecessary worry and upset.’