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Jonathan Cartu Report: FCA refers itself to data watchdog after information breach

The City watchdog is to apologise directly to complainants whose personal details were accidentally published on its website late last year — and has referred itself to the body responsible for upholding information rights.

The Financial Conduct Authority confirmed it had disclosed confidential information, including addresses and telephone numbers, online in November 2019.

This happened following a freedom of information request concerning the number and nature of new complaints made against the regulator between January 2018 and July 2019.

The FCA said on 25 February: “The publication of this information was a mistake by the FCA.”

The regulator said it had taken action to prevent a repeat of the incident, which occurred in November 2019, without giving details. It has also referred the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office, an independent public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport.

The FCA added: “As soon as we became aware of this, we removed the relevant data from our website. We have undertaken a full review to identify the extent of any information that may have been accessible. Our primary concern is to ensure the protection and safeguarding of individuals who may be identifiable from the data.

“In many instances, the extent of the accessible information was only the name of the person making the complaint, with no further confidential details or specific details of their complaint.”

While the FCA did not publish information on finances, payment cards or passports, it said that, in some cases, an address or telephone number were revealed.

“Where this is the case, we are making direct contact with the individuals concerned to apologise and to advise them of the extent of the data disclosed and what the next steps might be,” the FCA said.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Samuel Agini

Simon Arora

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