An employee of Enterprise Rent-A-Car who sold 28,000 customers’ records in return for £5,000, has been handed a £1,000 fine by a court.
Sindy Nagra, 42, from Hayes, was an administrative assistant at car hire firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and was responsible for processing customer details sent to the car rental company by an insurance firm. The details, most of which were of people who had been involved in road traffic collisions, included information about both the policyholder and their insurance claim.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car contacted the ICO after it discovered Nagra was looking at a large number of records, including many that she would not been expected to process.
An investigation revealed that Nagra, who worked from home, had been taking photos of the records while they were on her PC screen, and then selling these pictures for cash. They were sold to Iheanyi Ihediwa, 39, from Manchester, who was supposedly introduced to Nagra through her husband.
It has not been made clear what Ihediwa wanted to do with the data.
Nagra pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining, disclosing and selling personal data, a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act. Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court, she was fined £1,000, ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £864.40 in prosecution costs.
Meanwhile, Ihediwa appeared before Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 17 December, where he also pleaded guilty to section 55 offences. He was fined a total of £1,000, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £864.40 and a victim surcharge. The court also made a destruction order in respect of any data held by the defendant.
Courts can issue unlimited fines for the offence, but not custodial sentences, and this is something that Information Commissioner Christopher Graham wants changed.
“Nuisance call cowboys and claims market crooks will pay people to steal personal data. The fines that courts are issuing at the moment just don’t do enough to discourage would-be data thieves,” he said.
“This fine highlights the limited options the courts have. Sindy Nagra got £5,000 in cash in return for stealing thousands of people’s information. She lost her job when she was caught, and has no money to pay a fine, and the courts have to reflect that. But we’d like to see the courts given more options: suspended sentences, community service, and even prison in the most serious cases,” he added.
Graham said that the ICO had been pushing for this for some time.
“Parliament voted for it to happen more than seven years ago but it remains on a Westminster backburner. It is high time that changed,” he said.