Court Criticises Low Data Protection Penalty

September 1, 2009

One of the higher profile breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998, among the many recent breaches, involved the publication on the Internet of the names and contact detail of members of the British National Party. It was remarkable for being a deliberate breach rather than a leak arising from negligence.

On 1 September, Mathew Single pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to an offence under s. 55 of the Act. District Judge Stobart is reported by the BBC as stating:

‘It came as a surprise to me, as it will to many members of the party, that to do something as foolish and as criminally dangerous as you did will only incur a financial penalty. It comes as no surprise to me that somebody to do with an organisation that prides itself on Britishness is in fact living off the British people on Job Seeker’s Allowance and that is why the fine is so low as to be ridiculous’.

The BBC’s account can be found here: