Confidential files found on top of litter bin
The Department of Social Protection has launched an investigation after confidential files relating to four clients were found on top of a litter bin in the Lesson Street area of Dublin on Friday.
It has emerged that the files – which were handed in to the Sunday Independent by a concerned citizen – may have been accidentally dropped from a bag or briefcase by an official while he was on duty making out-of-office visits to clients. The files were handed over by the Sunday Independent to the department, which said it would be carrying out a full investigation.
In a statement, the department said: "Upon learning of this incident, the department immediately launched an investigation and notified the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner of the steps being taken, including the immediate retrieval of the customers' files.
"The department would like to place on record its appreciation to the Sunday Independent for its co-operation and professionalism in this regard. The department swiftly moved to contact the customers affected by this breach ... The department also apologised to those customers for the breach occurring. One customer could not be immediately contacted but efforts to do so will continue."
"These things happen. We've all misplaced things at one time or another. The official thinks they slipped out of the bag when he was cycling," said one of the customers whose file was misplaced, when contacted by the Sunday Independent.