Over 26,000 tenants' details left in a memory stick in a pub

Two London housing bodies breached Data Protection Act

After a night at a pub, don't leave your memory stick lying about.

Personal details of over 26,000 tenants in UK were on a USB stick, left in a pub.

According to the Information Commissioner's Office, two London housing bodies breached the Data Protection Act after leaving the unencrypted memory stick in a pub.

The memory stick belonged to a contractor wotking for Lewisham Homes and had previously also worked for Wandle Housing Association.

The USB stick was later on given to the police.

The memory stick has details of over 20,000 tenants of Lewisham Homes and 6,200 tenants of Wandle Housing Association. Nearly 800 of the records belonging to Lewisham Homes also included bank account details.

Both organisations have agreed to make sure that all portable devices used to store personal information are encrypted. All staff, including contractors and temporary staff, will also be monitored to ensure they are taking the appropriate measures to keep the personal information they are handling secure.

"Saving personal information on to an unencrypted memory stick is as risky as taking hard copy papers out of the office. Luckily, the device was handed in and there is no suggestion that the data was misused," said Sally-Anne Poole, Acting Head of Enforcement at the ICO.

She said the incident could have been easily avoided if the information had been properly protected.

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