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Current News Updates

PL&B UK E-news, Issue 50

17 November, 2006
© Privacy Laws & Business 2006

  1. Up to 10 years of imprisonment for DoS attacks
  2. ICO investigates banks’ poor data security
  3. ICO releases new training material
  4. David Smith elected Chair of Europol’s data protection supervisory body

1. Up to 10 years of imprisonment for DoS attacks

The Police and Justice Bill 2006, which received Royal Assent on 8th November, criminalises Denial of Service Attacks (DoS)  which are deliberate attempts to crash a server by sending large amounts of emails. Previously, it was not clear whether DoS attacks fell under the 1990 Computer Misuse Act. The maximum penalty is ten years imprisonment, a fine or both.
The Police and Justice Act also increases the maximum penalty for unauthorised access to computer material from six months to two years of imprisonment.

The final text is not available yet, but see the Bill at

2. ICO investigates banks’ poor data security

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is currently investigating allegations of failings in data security by the Post Office, HSBC, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland. In an interview with The Times on 28th October, Richard Thomas says that he has received “highly disturbing” evidence that personal information, including bank statements and loan applications, had been left in bin bags on streets throughout the country.

Thomas said that he was considering taking enforcement action which could include considerable fines.


3. ICO releases new training material

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released a new interactive training DVD. The DVD, The lights are on, aims to educate employees about their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act. The DVD highlights a few common mistakes and the eight data protection principles. It also explains what happens if personal information is wrongly disclosed to a third party.

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner said: “The DVD is a very useful training tool. It will help staff understand their obligations under the Act. I encourage all organisations to make full use of it.”

To request a free copy of the DVD released on 10th November 2006, visit or call 08453 091 091.

 4. David Smith elected Chair of Europol’s data protection supervisory body

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, has been elected Chair of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) of Europol, the European Police body.  The JSB is the international body responsible for ensuring that Europol meets its data protection obligations.

For more information, see


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