Disclosures made by the UK Department of Work and Pensions in response Freedom of Information requests show that over 1,000 civil servants illegally snooped on private citizens' data over a 13-month period. A separate disclosure from the Department of Health showed over 150 illegal breaches in the same period. As Zack Whittaker points out in a piece on ZDNet, these are the same civil servants who will havvess to unlimited amounts of sensitive personal information if the government's plan to require mandatory snooping on all Internet traffic goes through. Who needs crooks breaking into government databases when you've got civil servants stomping through them with impunity?
Between April 2010 and March 2011, 513 civil servants were found to have made “unauthorised disclosures of official, sensitive, private and/or personal information”. The year continuing, between April 2011 and January 2012, more than 460 staff were disciplined.
The DoH on the other hand said it did not log each and every breach of unlawful access to U.K. medical records. It did say there were 158 recorded breaches in 2011. Only four years earlier, there were only 28 cases, representing a fivefold increase.
The FOI requests were made by Channel 4’s investigative series, Dispatches.