Data watchdog needs to give business clear guidelines on data security & compliance, says Pinsent Masons

24 Jan 2013 | 05:12 pm | 1 min. read

Marc Dautlich, data protection law specialist at Pinsent Masons, comments on Sony's £250,000 fine by Britain’s data watchdog over a cyber attack breach that compromised the personal information of millions of PlayStation users. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued the penalty after it found the attack on the Sony PlayStation Network in April 2011 could have been prevented:

"Organisations need to be given guidance on what technical measures can be said to constitute an appropriate standard of security for the purposes of compliance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).

"The Sony appeal could be extremely interesting as it may provide an insight into what the ICO considers to be an appropriate standard of security that organisations have to have in place, particularly as it is a case involving a company in the private sector.

"Organisations are increasingly subject to malicious attacks and clarity from the ICO is needed about just how good security needs to be to meet the requirements of the DPA.

"This is an important issue at the moment, but it will come even more into focus if all organisations are mandatorily obliged to report data breach incidents as would be the case if proposed reforms to EU data protection laws are introduced as currently drafted.

"In our experience it is also very often the case that security incidents go hand-in-hand with a finding that organisations are holding too much personal data. This case should highlight the need for firms to concentrate on their retention policies and give the issue sufficient attention."

-Ends-

Notes to Editors:

Under the Data Protection Act (DPA) organisations must take "appropriate technical and organisational measures ... against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data".

The Act also requires organisations to ensure that the personal data they hold is "adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed".

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