The London Borough of Newham fined £145,000 for leaking Gangs Matrix

05.04.2019

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The London Borough of Newham has been fined £145,000 for exposing personal details of 203 people featured on a Gangs Matrix, a police intelligence database which collects and keeps gang members' records. The compromised information included addresses, dates of birth and types of crimes each had committed. The leakage occured when a Newham Council employee sent an email containing the details to 44 external recipients among which there were such organisations as Youth Offending Team and a voluntary agency.

The breach was undetected from January 2017, when it happened, till December 2017, when the investigation set off. Since the GDPR came into force in May 2018 the Council couldn't be penalised in accordance with the European regulator rules and the fine has been issued under the Data Protection Act 1998. During that period between may and september some rival gang members procured the photos of the leaked details via Snapchat.

The investigation also revealed that there were no security policies in place regarding sensitive data storage and usage which would allow employees and external partner organisations manage Gangs Matrix databases details safely.

The Information Commissioner’s Office urged MPS - the Metropolitan Police Service which conducts cooperative fighting against gang violence with third party organisations - to take the needed measures so that the Matrix complies with data protection requirements.