Almost All UK Financial Data Breaches Don’t Result in Prosecution

Swiss data bank calls for tougher privacy protection throughout the financial sector

Official data from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) casts doubt on the effectiveness of data protection in the financial sector. The data, obtained by Swiss data centre Artmotion, showed that over 14,000 data protection complaints were made against the financial sector in the last five years, but less than 0.1% resulted in criminal prosecutions.

Over a quarter of the complaints received by the ICO relate to the security of data or the unlawful disclosure of data. The figures also reveal that only 0.48% of financial data protection complaints have resulted in any sort of enforcement action by the ICO in the last five years.

The information, obtained by Artmotion via a freedom of information request, suggests that current data protection regulations are not tough enough to enable enforcement agencies to deliver real protection for the data held by financial organisations.

The ICO’s most recent annual report (covering financial year 2014/15) further reveals that the financial sector is one of the worst offending industries when it comes to data protection, with significantly more complaints than other sectors. Even excluding other types of financial organisations, lenders alone attracted the highest number of complaints – accounting for 12% of all of the concerns raised with the ICO in FY 2014/15.

Mateo Meier, CEO of Artmotion, commented: “In the financial sector data protection is of even higher significance than in other areas, and yet it seems that the UK government, and the EU for that matter, are unable to provide adequate protections or meaningful enforcement for breaches. Should individuals and businesses expect better? We say undoubtedly yes.

The fact is that countries outside the EU, such as Switzerland, have far stronger regulation when it comes to data protection and can offer more comprehensive security for highly sensitive financial information.”

Author: Dylan Jones

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