Hertfordshire County Council has been fined £100 000 for faxing details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public. This penalty has been imposed under the Data Protection Act because the fax was sent by mistake to the wrong address. This mistake has cost Hertfordshire County Council dearly but should serve as a warning to other councils who are equally lax in their Data Protection.
Dead right except for one thing. If I do something wrong and end up in court and get fined the fine comes out of my income, so it is me, the wrong doer, who gets punished.
Now the person who sent the fax to the wrong address isn't paying this fine off at 10 quid a week for the next ten thousand weeks (192 years and 4 months). The county councillors who are in charge of running the council aren't either. So who is paying the fine? Yes that's right, 100 poor council tax payers who pay £1000 per year council tax for council services like roads kept clean, rubbish collected ever week, street lights, police driving around in cars upholding the law and schools etc,etc. Not to pay fines.
So who gets the £100 000? What do they do with it? Why fine a county council in the first place when it's the innocent council tax payer who was nowhere near the fax machine when the send button was pressed who has to foot the bill? Or some drop in centre for old people or venerable children gets closed because the council have spent the money paying fines that end up in the treasury who wont even notice a sum like £100 000?