British bank employee accessed bank statements of partner’s ex-wife

A Barclays employee accessed her partner’s ex-wife’s bank statements when he was involved in a legal dispute over the terms of a divorce settlement. When eBay transactions were raised in a meeting between the estranged couple, the ex-wife became suspicious that her account had been viewed.

The woman pleaded guilty to 11 offences under section 55 of the UK Data Protection Act, and was fined £500 ($700) by a Crown Court and ordered to pay a £15 ($20) victim surcharge and £1,410.80 ($2,000) prosecution costs.

Speaking about the case, the UK Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said: “High street bank staff have access to financial information on a day-to-day basis, and are expected to treat that privilege with professionalism. When that trust is abused, and the personal data they access is misused, the law is very clear, as this case has shown.” he said.

“The only surprise here is that – in an age where our personal information is being stored and accessed by more organisations than ever – the penalties for abusing the system are so inadequate. This case illustrates the need for more effective deterrent sentences to be available to the courts. Unlawful access to personal information is all too easy and all too common”.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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