The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation document on proposals to introduce prison sentences for thsoe who who seek to profit from the illegal trade in personal data, and for those who knowingly or recklessly disclose personal data to those who have no right to have it.

I accept that our prisons are already seriously over-full, but I am quite clear that we will not achieve higher standards of data security in this country until there are much tougher penalties.  The Government is committed to ensuring a robust framework of protection for personal data and wants to increase public confidence in its use and deter and punish appropriately those who seek to profit from its illegal trade.  (Quite properly it is proposed that there be a “public interest” defence to protect genuine investigative journalism.)

The only thing that will concentrate the minds of those engaged in this sort of trade will be the threat of prison.  Such crimes are not “victim-less”.

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