Theft of data confirmed by ICO

A former recruitment consultant has been fined for unlawfully taking personal data from his employer when he left his job to set up a rival business.

The employee left the recruitment company he was working for, and a short time later set up a similar company. Once his previous employer became aware of the new company, it was concerned about the integrity of the database it used to recruit, which contained the personal data of more than 16,000 people.

The employer contacted the ex-employee to ask if he had downloaded any of the information from the database and he admitted he had taken some data, claiming it was for his own record of achievement.

The matter was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and during an investigation it was discovered that he had stolen the details of 272 individuals from the database for commercial gain. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining personal data under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 when he appeared at Court.

He was fined £355 and was ordered to pay costs of £700 as well as a victim surcharge of £35. A spokesperson from the ICO said “Data Protection laws are there for a reason and the ICO will continue to take action against those who abuse their position”.

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