Jennifer Addo, who was found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act at Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday (Wednesday), was fined £2,990 and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge and £250 prosecution costs.
Despite Barclays informing its staff that they should not access customers’ accounts unless required, Addo accessed the details 22 times – in one instance to see if he had children – and passed the information on to her friend.
The bank was alerted to Addo’s activities when the customer contacted the bank to report that information from his account appeared to have been passed to his then partner.
When interviewed by her employer, Addo confirmed that she was aware that the complainant’s details should not have been accessed, but still decided to look at the complainant’s file and pass information to her friend. She was dismissed soon after.
ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: “Jennifer Addo knew she was breaking the law by inappropriately accessing the complainants’ details and passing information to a third party but still decided to act. She is now facing the consequences of her actions.
“This case proves, yet again, why we need a more appropriate penalty for the crime of personal data theft. With the law as it stands, this prosecution isn’t even recorded on the police national computer which means that an offender could apply for a job in a high street bank tomorrow and the potential employer wouldn’t be informed about the offence. The current ‘fine only’ regime is clearly not deterring people from breaking the law.”
Late last year Barclays was at the centre of a similar case after an employee was fined for accessing the bank records of her partner’s ex-wife after a legal dispute over the terms of a divorce settlement.
Lara Davies was fined just £500, although also had to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £1,410.80 in prosecution costs.
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