A contractor has paid the ultimate price for leaving some unencrypted personal data, lying around in a pub – yet another "fall guy" for another council data breach, involving hundreds if not thousands of personal details.

The contractor, working for Wandle and Lewisham housing association, was blamed for the data loss from a USB stick in March.

According to the ICO, 800 of the records belonging to Lewisham tenants also contained bank account details, and that at least one client has now sacked the contractor.

Although the ICO issues enforcement warnings to the housing associations it had forced them to agree to tighten procedures – the privacy watchdog was yet unable to take further action against the contractor.

“The breach was sourced to the data controller, so responsibility falls to him even though it was the contractor that left the memory stick behind,” a spokesperson for the ICO, adding that it was up the the different associations to take any action against the contractor"

The councils, however, say they have taken action, with the contractor sacked.

"In March 2011, without our knowledge, one of our contractors took confidential information and put it onto a data stick which he subsequently lost," Lewisham Homes said in a statement.

"This was in breach of our Data Protection procedures and as a result of this breach the contractor has now been dismissed."

The Wandle Housing Association called any disciplinary action as “an internal affair” but had said the contractor was currently not currently working for the association.

Posted in: Data Storage