Oxfam investigated by ICO over personal data breach

18 Apr 2018 News

Oxfam has been investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office after it circulated a copy of its 2011 report about sexual misconduct in Haiti that was “not securely redacted”.

The charity reported the mistake to the ICO and the Charity Commission and has apologised for the error. The information regulator is now considering its options. 

On 19 February it published a redacted version of the report from 2011 about its investigation into events in Haiti. 

But the day before it had sent journalists an embargoed version of the report which had not been fully redacted, meaning some personal information could be extracted. It sent journalists an updated version of the report before the embargo lifted.

It has now written to everyone it sent the incorrect version telling them to delete the incorrectly redacted version of the report. 

In a statement Oxfam said: “In order to be as transparent as possible about the decisions made during our investigation into sexual misconduct by some former Oxfam staff in Haiti, we published a redacted copy of our final internal investigation report from 2011 on 19 February. 

“Unfortunately, due to a technical error the report was not securely redacted when it was first circulated. We apologise for this mistake. We took immediate action to correct it and reported the breach to the Information Commissioner's Office - and we are fully co-operating with them.  We also notified the Charity Commission and anyone who could potentially be identified as a result to make them aware.”

The ICO said: “We have completed our investigation and we are considering our regulatory options.”

Options open to the ICO include issuing monetary penalty notices, issuing undertakings committing an organisation to a particular course of action and reporting concerns to Parliament. 


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