back to article Charity accused of leaving sensitive notes behind after office move

A counselling charity has been accused of breaching Blighty's data protection law after confidential files were discovered in an old office building. The UK's data protection watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the suspected blunder, in which sensitive case histories relating to child sexual exploitation and drug …

  1. NightFox

    Read the headline and I imagined a vacated office festooned with Post-its with nice, non-confrontational, self-esteem-boosting messages written on them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I found a bunch of confidential documents I'd contact the owner of the documents and tell them, not the local press. I'd only look enough to see if I could identify who the documents belonged to instead of going through them and reviewing the contents as was obviously done here. Am I out of step with things?

    1. John Riddoch

      Read the article:

      But in this case, the charity and local authority seem to have failed to do so in more ways than one, by allegedly declining the opportunity to pick up the docs.

      According to the Evening News, Saunders claimed that neither the charity nor the council helped him when he raised the alarm, which he said prompted him to go to the newspaper.

      It should still be reported to the ICO, though, as it's lax security of information.

    2. Services Techie

      "According to the Evening News, Saunders claimed that neither the charity nor the council helped him when he raised the alarm, which he said prompted him to go to the newspaper."

    3. Cynic_999

      "

      If I found a bunch of confidential documents I'd contact the owner of the documents and tell them, not the local press.

      "

      Maybe. OTOH it might be better to give the documents to the people they are referring to. Much of the information in the case notes of social services and similar organisations are 33% very selective truths, 33% gross exaggeration and 33% outright lies. It might be beneficial for people to see the official re-write of their personal histories.

      1. Timmy B

        @Cynic_999

        "Much of the information in the case notes of social services and similar organisations are 33% very selective truths, 33% gross exaggeration and 33% outright lies. "

        I see you've had involvement with social services at some time. It's amazing how putting a condition on something becomes a refusal. "I will see you on such and such a day as it fits in with my work schedule" became "x refused to see social services". Bonkers!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh, happens all the time

    This sort of thing happens quite regularly with the 3rd sector.

    I work for a local authority and have on several occasions had to instruct our staff to recover and secure personal information that has been left behind by charities and care providers.

    We being the local council usually get informed (and blamed) even when it's nothing to do with us at all. But we'll assume a duty of care and secure the information until the ICO tells us what to do (usually secure destroy at our (well yours Mr Taxpayer) expense).

  4. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Yeah

    In my days as a local authority teacher dealing with kids' records, when we had to move/vacate premises I was obsessive about checking filing cabinets. I checked they were empty after it was time to clear them. I checked them again after everything was meant to be clear, and third time before they were moved. And our stuff wasn't nearly as sensitive as this.

    The thing is, if they aren't bothered about the kids' sensitive information how bothered are they about the kids?

  5. Daedalus

    Hmmmm

    Since "Lifeline" are in the same line of work as CGL, maybe they're the guilty party. As for the post-its etc., well that's the "paperless office" for you. People don't know how to access stuff on computers, and can't remember passwords, so they use "little notes".

    And what have we here? According to Unreliablepedia Lifeline collapsed in May 2017 and CGL were supposed to take over their work. Which means that CGL may have inherited this whole mess, or at least not been sufficiently diligent about going over what they found when they moved in.

  6. The_H

    Twas ever thus

    My parents bought a house back in 1976 which had previously been a doctor's surgery. The cellar was full of medical records, xrays, old bottles of stuff and pile upon pile of drug companies' advertising blotters (yes, they were a thing). We didn't go to the press though.

    And as for the paperless office... some wag once pointed out that it'll happen around the same time as the paperless lavatory.

    1. Mike 'H'

      Re: Twas ever thus

      The paperless lavatory has already been invented by Toto in Japan.

      Perhaps their offices have sufficiently less dead tree pulp in them by now?

    2. Cynic_999

      Re: Twas ever thus

      There have been paperless lavatories in Asia for centuries.

  7. Hollerithevo

    Why do they say this stuff??

    "Change, grow, live has thorough policies and procedures in place to keep sensitive information secure and, where warranted, we will not hesitate to take immediate steps to tighten our procedures if these have been found wanting," he added.

    Clearly they do NOT have thorough procedures, or we wouldn't be reading about it.

    1. David Roberts
      Facepalm

      Re: Why do they say this stuff??

      Policy update #1. Check the office has been cleared on moving out.

      Brought to you free of charge by the department of the bleeding obvious.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paper Trail

    Why didn't they make sure all that sensitive data was safe and secure by uploading it to a cloud?

    Oh, wait..

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Paper Trail

      uploading it to a cloud

      As in "set fire to it"?

      - need - more - coffee -

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bought a laptop at an IT recycling auction about 10 years ago who were selling off a lot of ex MOD kit. The laptop came without a hard drive but someone had forgot to check the optical drive and inside was a CD-ROM which has information on MOD camouflage techniques which was marked as 'classified'

    I think i had a quick read over it then chucked it in the recycling. Was far too much hassle to go bother reporting it.

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