I notice an interesting application in the High Court.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been granted an injunction (actually, a second injunction) requiring that the first defendant, a Mark Warner, disclose to the IPCC the identity of the second defendant -“person(s) unknown” – who Mr Warner has indicated is holding certain information about a third party, as well as the circumstances in which they came to be in the possession of those person(s) unknown.
The reason I’m posting about this is that it appears that the IPCC disclosed the information about the third party in error to Mr Warner while responding to a subject access request under section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).
Mr Warner apparently received some of his own data in response to that section 7 request, but feels that there is further information to which he is entitled, and for his own reasons, has refused to return the papers relating to the third party sent to him by mistake, saying (in a telephone conversation with the IPCC):
If I do not get [the further material which he wants the IPCC to provide to him] within a reasonable timeframe I will not only hang onto the information which I have been sent in error, but I will identify it to Fleet Street
The IPCC brought the current application not only to protect its own rights, but the Article 8 rights of the third party.
One wonders if the Information Commissioner has been informed. Inadvertent disclosure of personal data of a third party, of a kind which requires a high court injunction to identify the “person(s) unknown”, sounds like a serious contravention of the DPA of a kind likely to cause substantial damage or distress. Such contraventions can attract monetary penalty notices of up to £500,000.