UK FCA Admits Data Blunder, Exposing Details of 1,600 Complainants

Personal information of people who lodge complaints at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was ‘accidentally’ shared online after FCA posted the information on its website.

The data, containing names, addresses, phone numbers, and other information were made public in what the FCA calls data blunder incident.

The financial watchdog is responsible for regulating the banking firms and investing sector in the country. This includes more than 59,000 financial services offered in the United Kingdom. In fact, it carries out serious investigation over banks such as the Bank of England.

FCA Data Blunder

Mistaken Information

The data breach lapse caused the FCA a great damage, publishing the nature or descriptions of complaints made, financial records, and passports. The personal data, which was published in November 2019, was ‘mistaken’ for the supposed Freedom of Information request. “The publication of this information was a mistake by the FCA,” said the authority body.

The information was revealed in a section of the website where the number and nature of complaints were stated. Instead of the personal details, the FCA should’ve published the number of complaints made between January 2018 and July 2019.

The spokesperson confirmed that the data exposed consists of the complaints information as well as personal data. On the firm’s end, this news comes in bad timing as it previously requested financial firms to handle personal information responsibly.

FCA said in the joint statement that, “By passing on personal data, companies may be failing to meet their obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”

According to the watchdog, they already “taken action and removed the data posted on their website.“

In line with what happened, the regulatory body said it will be contacting people affected by the accidental breach and extend apologies. They also said to make new steps in securing the information they receive.

“We have taken immediate action to ensure this cannot happen again. We have undertaken a full review to identify the extent of any information that may have been accessible,” said the financial authority firm.

While the watchdog is still investigating the recent data blunder, it also undergoes a probing Bank of England security breach. According to the FCA, the bank allegedly allowed hedge funds early access to audio feeds of governor Mark Carney press conferences. Additionally, FCA was also fined GBP2, 000 for failing to run its pension scheme.