• Thu. May 30th, 2024

City of Edinburgh Council experiences over 1,100 data breaches in the last five years

ByKarim Ferjani

Nov 8, 2022
A modern office building with a green roof and sandstone walls, surrounded by stone tenement buildings.

It has been revealed in a Freedom of Information request that the City of Edinburgh Council has seen 1,103 data breaches in the last five years.

This was part of a wider investigative report by The Ferret, which discovered that there have been 10,194 data breaches across Scottish councils in that time.

The breaches range from emails being sent to the wrong recipient to personal data being accessible on public websites.

Within the City of Edinburgh Council, these breaches included personal data being passed on to a third party, data being misused and passwords not being kept secure.

An issue raised as a consequence of these data breaches was how many staff across Scottish councils had completed their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) training.

The City of Edinburgh Council said that they were “not aware of any disciplinary action being taken against staff” for failure to comply with GDPR.

They also said that discovering how many of their staff had completed said training would be too expensive.

Within other councils, such as the Perth and Kinross Council, it was claimed that it is not mandatory to complete data protection training, but “all staff are encouraged to do so”.

They said that 3,870 employees out of around 6,000 had completed the training, with 507 in the process of doing so.

Meanwhile in Glasgow City Council, 1,718 breaches were recorded, which was the highest number of breaches across Scottish councils.

Eight employees have received disciplinary action as a result.

Glasgow City Council stressed that they have “very well established and internally-publicised data breach reporting processes.”

There has been political backlash to these data breaches, with Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Brigg, who is the Scottish Conservatives’ spokesperson for local government, noting: “These figures must serve as an urgent wakeup call for ministers.

Our councils must be protected against the threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches and the public must be reassured that these breaches will stop becoming so common.”

Additionally, former Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “Data breaches are a serious matter but these figures show they are also a serial problem.

Local authorities need to demonstrate that they are improving operating procedures to cut down on these breaches.”

The City of Edinburgh Council building” by GB_1984 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.