A new report from the UK Justice Committee on the Theft of Personal Data calls for more stringent repercussions for infractions of the Data Protection Act (DPA). Under the current mandate, a magistrates' court can issue fines up to up to £5,000 (and the Crown Court can impose unlimited fines), penalties are often quite small. The report calls for imprisonment and greater fines as a more significant deterrent to those who breach the DPA.
Sir Alan Beith, Chair of the Justice Committee, said:
"Fines are used to punish breaches of data protection laws, but they provide little deterrent when the financial gain exceeds the penalty.
Magistrates and Judges need to be able to hand out custodial sentences when serious misuses of personal information come to light. Parliament has provided that power, but Ministers have not yet brought it into force - they must do so."
As outlined in the news release, the report also concludes that the potential misuses of personal data are not being fully investigated and that the government's lack of power to compel audits in private corporations should be remedied.
Read here for the full report and all related proceedings.