Medical and social security records being stored unlawfully and inappropriately accessed, statistics show

Cahal Milmo writes in The Independent:

Medical and social security records kept by public bodies are being unlawfully or inappropriately accessed dozens of times a month and hundreds of civil servants disciplined for data offences, according to Government records.

Staff at the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) are being reprimanded at a rate of nearly five per day for breach of the rules governing its vast database – thought to be the largest of its kind in Europe – while the Department of Health (DoH) last year recorded 13 cases a month of unlawful access to medical records.

The statistics, obtained by Channel 4’s Dispatches under the Freedom of Information Act, will increase concern about the security of personal data and the ease with which private investigators are selling access to personal and confidential information, much of which is held on state computer systems and is illegal to obtain without suitable authorisation.