Your details - not safe

BANK details, addresses and other confidential information held by North Somerset Council about residents is not protected against being downloaded or copied by employees.

BANK details, addresses and other confidential information held by North Somerset Council about residents is not protected against being downloaded or copied by employees.

Councillor Edward Keating is calling for all collection of data by the council to stop immediately until security measures are put in place.

It has also been revealed that Town Hall officials share residents' information with other bodies, such as the police, using computer disks or CDs, which, it says, are not always sent by recorded delivery.

The discovery was made after a request made under the Freedom of Information Act.


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The authority said there is a council policy to stop workers emailing confidential information or taking it off site, but there is no way of knowing if data has been compromised as no method of tracking or recording the copying of information exists.

Cllr Keating has written to the council's chief executive, Graham Turner, calling for the practice to stop 'until after an audit has been done and the public are guaranteed security.'

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He said: "I was horrified to learn how much information is passed around and that the council is not completely robust in its processes where personal data is concerned."

The council says it is currently reviewing its IT use and is drafting information security policies.

Currently, the council is one of only 10 countrywide which records the number plates of residents as they visit the tip as part of its efforts to stop businesses dumping commercial waste.

It does this by using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which read vehicle number plates.

*Last week the council agreed to let Avon and Somerset Constabulary place five ANPR cameras at locations across the district to catch criminals travelling on North Somerset roads.

The equipment, which can read up to 3,000 registrations every hour, is linked up to the central database of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which will alert police if a passing vehicle is not insured or taxed.

It is already used by Avon and Somerset Constabulary in other areas and in the past it has also led to arrests for serious crimes and drugs trafficking.

Staff in Weston's CCTV control room, based in the Town Hall, can also link up to the new software thanks to an upgrade in their equipment, which was financed by the police.

The cameras will monitor traffic in Somerset Avenue at junction 21 of the M5 and also on the A370 Bridgwater Road, both on the side of the road leading into Weston.

Others will be on the A38, near Barrow Gurney on both the southbound and northbound sides, and on the A369 in Portbury near junction 19 of the M5.

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