MPs Call for Data Thieves to Face Prosecution

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MP’s this week are calling for criminals who steal and sell on personal data to be sent to prison for up to two years.

The news comes as a report was recently released by the Culture, Media and Sports Committee that was triggered into creation following the disastrous data breach that took place a few months ago, involving customers of TalkTalk.

The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) has been trying to get the government to adopt a much sterner attitude towards data thieves for years now. In 2011 for example, Christopher Graham, Information commissioner at the time, said that magistrates should be granted the power to jail any person found guilty of breaching Data Protection laws, after an employee at Barclays Bank abused her position to look into the banking details of a woman who had accused her husband of sexual assault.

Now, both MPs and the CMS Committee are in agreement that higher punishment is necessary. “We concur with the ICO, that whilst the implementation of the EU GDPR will help focus attention data protection, it would be useful to have a full range of sanctions, including custodial sentences.”We therefore support the ICO’s call to bring into force Sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which would allow a maximum custodial sentence of two years for those convicted of unlawfully obtaining and selling personal data,” the report stated.

Furthermore, the inquiry into cyber-security also called for the ICO to be granted higher powers, designed to encourage organisations and businesses to report data breaches as soon as possible. Where currently they are only limited to the £1,000 fine for failures to report data breaches.

Another recommendation to come out of the report from Mps involves implementing more training sessions based around cyber-security for employees working within organisations that withhold large amounts of personal data.

It’s great to hear that more action is being taken to punish cyber criminals in a world where data breaches and leaks is becomes increasingly present within the news.

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