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Information Commissioner brings two separate prosecutions against ex-employees who unlawfully transferred personal and confidential data from their employers’ databases

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29/07/2016

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has shown itself increasingly willing to bring criminal prosecutions against ex-employees unlawfully transferring confidential data from their employer on termination of employment.

Two recent cases remind us that the ICO can, and will, bring criminal proceedings against individuals who unlawfully obtain or process client data. In the first case, an ex-employee of LV= was prosecuted for attempting to get an existing employee to sell LV= customer information to him. In the second case, the ex-employee sent details of over 950 clients to his personal email address before he commenced a new role at a competitor. In both cases, the individuals received fines and were ordered to pay prosecution costs. The cases were brought under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998

We often advise employers on how to protect their business interests. These cases illustrate that employees who attempt to take confidential client data with them on termination of employment not only risk civil action by their employer but may also face criminal proceedings by the ICO.  If found guilty they will receive a criminal record which could severely prejudice their ability to find future employment. These cases are therefore very helpful to employers who are concerned that an individual is attempting to take, or has taken, confidential personal information to be used in a new employment.

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