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News

Custodial term proposed for personal data theft

PGP (GB) : 20 October, 2009  (Technical Article)
PGP comments on the proposal from the UK Ministry of Justice for custodial sentences relating to the theft of confidential personal data
The Ministry of Justice last week published a consultation paper which could see prison sentences of up to two years imposed on those who illicitly obtain confidential personal data. The current maximum penalty for disclosing or selling personal information is £5,000.

Jamie Cowper, EMEA director of marketing at data encryption expert PGP Corporation, has made the following comments:

"Current penalties - fines of just a few thousand pounds - act as no deterrent to professional data thieves who can potentially make ten to twenty times more than this by selling their ill gotten gains to the highest bidder. Custodial sentences, such as those proposed by the Ministry of Justice, may make them think twice in the future.

"Our personal data is highly valuable and the consequences for those whose information is stolen is often severe. Any measure designed to help defend our data should therefore be welcomed.

"With these proposals still in consultation stages, we will have to wait to see the real impact of custodial sentences for data thieves. In the meantime, organisations must continue to use every possible means to discourage, prevent and protect against data misuse. Anything less is simply unacceptable."

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