Reports of health data breaches increase by 22% in Q3 of 2017, ICO figures show

Data posted, faxed or sent by email to the wrong recipients and loss or theft of paperwork are among the three main types of data breaches reported in Q3 of 2017.

[London, UK] New figures released by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reveal reports of health data breaches increased by 22% in Q3 of 2017.

In total, more than 800 data security incidents were reported to the ICO this quarter, which saw a 41% increase compared to figures from the same period for 2016.

The data protection regulator says the surge could be due to increased awareness of the GDPR, which will come into force on 25 May 2018, and the launch of the new Personal Data Breach helpline.

The regulator received 286 reports of data security incidents in the health sector, where breach reporting is mandatory.

Data posted, faxed or emailed to the wrong person and loss or theft of paperwork were among the main types of incidents investigated by the ICO.

“Only one in five people in the UK trust organisations to look after their data. That’s not good enough.

“The GDPR is an opportunity to reset the equilibrium,” said Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, at the Association of Chief Executives and Public Chairs' Forum event earlier this month.

New guidance outlining the work that the European Commission, national data protection regulators and administrations have to carry out to support organisations before the GDPR comes into force has also been published recently.

The European Commission will monitor how countries part of the European Union apply the new regulation starting from May.

Vĕra Jourová, Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner, said:

“In today's world, the way we handle data will determine to a large extent our economic future and personal safety.

“We need modern rules to respond to new risks, so we call on EU governments, authorities and businesses to use the remaining time efficiently and fulfil their roles in the preparations for the big day." 

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