Brid-Aine Parnell reports:
A senior investigator for the Information Commissioner’s Office has told the Leveson inquiry he was warned off pursuing the press for data breaches by his bosses.
Alexander Owen, also a former police officer, had been looking into possible breaches of the Data Protection Act by a south London private investigation agency when he uncovered around 17,000 requests for confidential information from journalists.
But when he took the evidence to his superiors, Richard Thomas – who was the commissioner at the time – and Francis Aldhouse – who was deputy commissioner at the time – they didn’t want to pursue the cases, he told the inquiry.
“There was a look of horror on Mr Aldhouse’s face and he said, ‘We can’t take them on, they’re too big for us’,” Owens said.
Read more on The Register.
If these allegations are true, they’re disturbing. No one and no organization should be above the law. Better for the ICO to take them on and fail and then go back to government to ask for more resources and authority than to let such egregious conduct go unchallenged.