Monday, June 23, 2008

Civil servants' illegal disclosure of personal information is "routine and very comprehensive"

The Independent has an update on the Data Protection Commissioner's investigation into the Department of Social and Family Affairs:
FOURTEEN employees of the Department of Social and Family Affairs are being investigated for allegedly passing comprehensive personal information to insurance companies on a regular basis.

The Irish Independent has learned that some of the alleged breaches -- which came to light in April 2007 -- involve "one of Ireland's largest insurance companies" and date back to 2006.

The allegations involve the passing of personal and sensitive information, contained on data systems within the Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA), to third parties for commercial benefit.

The DSFA carries all personal details on all individuals in the state including PPS numbers, dates of birth, addresses as well as earnings details.

Private investigators work for the insurance companies to compile cases against drivers. But there is concern about the level of information that the inspectors for the insurance companies are obtaining.

Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes said in an email to the DSFA last June: "I inspected five investigator files yesterday during a planned call back to X (large insurance company).

"This revealed very-worrying levels of disclosure from the DSFA to private investigators. From what I could discern, such disclosures are routine and very comprehensive."
I've blogged before about other examples in this Department of disregard for citizens' privacy.

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