Bell’s delight as council lodge data breach appeal

A LEADING councillor has welcomed Scottish Borders Council’s appeal against its £250,000 data breach penalty.

Nearly 850 confidential files from the local authority were dumped in a West Lothian supermarket bin by a firm hired last year by SBC, which as a result received the six-figure fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

However, council officers have now taken legal advice and believe the fine is too steep.

Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development, agreed, and is delighted with the decision to appeal.

He told TheSouthern: “I was concerned that SBC had been honest and reported the data breach yet were still handed an unfair and hefty fine. SBC admitted its mistake, took immediate action to correct its procedures and then report itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

The fine has already been paid in order to achieve a discount of £50,000 but SBC still reserved the right to appeal. A decision is expected from a three-judge panel at the end of January.

When asked about appeal costs, an SBC spokeswoman added: “The council would only incur further costs if the tribunal deems the losing party to have acted unreasonably, negligently or improperly. As the council has lodged a legitimate appeal, we hope that the costs to the council would be minimal.”