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Passport service broke data protection law when it lost applications, says ICO

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) broke data protection laws when it lost the passport renewal applications of 21 people, data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said.22 Feb 2011

The chief executive of the IPS has promised the ICO that it will ensure that measures are put in place to stop such a loss happening again and that all staff will be made aware of those measures.

The renewal applications contained the personal data not only of the applicants but also of the counter-signatories to those applications. The ICO said, though, that no complaints about damage as a result of the loss had been made.

"A passport is an important identification document and it is clearly of concern that information relating to renewal applications has been lost," said ICO head of enforcement Mick Gorrill. "However, there is no evidence to suggest that the applications have fallen into the wrong hands and we are pleased that the Identity and Passport Service is taking steps to stop this happening again.”

IPS chief executive Sarah Rapson has signed formal undertakings on behalf of the Home Secretary promising the ICO that the IPS will put processes in place to stop losses happening again and will monitor compliance with those processes.

The loss happened at a passport office in May 2010 and all of the people affected by it have been informed, the ICO said.

Pinsent Masons and AmberhawkTraining will be running a data protection law update session on 11 April. Details and booking information (4-page / 164KB PDF).