The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned organisation to make greater efforts to ensure personal data is not included within documents made available online, after rebuking Durham University for this mistake.
The data watchdog said Durham had placed training materials on how to use its IT systems online, which featured screenshots that clearly showed data on 177 former students and staff, including names, addresses and dates of birth.
The university discovered the error in July 2011 and promptly took the information down, and at the same time alerted the ICO to the issue.
Its subsequent investigation discovered that only 20 per cent of non-manual staff had accessed the online training materials available to them on issues around data protection policies.
The ICO's head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said the case was a strong reminder for organisations in all sectors to ensure they provide adequate training for staff and avoid such blunder themselves.
"All documents should be checked for personal information before being made available on a website. This case also highlights the importance of organisations having comprehensive data protection training in place for all staff," he said.
A Durham University spokesperson said that as a result of the incident it was working to improve staff training on its data protection procedures.
"The undertaking we have signed with the ICO is a public statement of our intention to ensure that robust security measures are in place and that personal data is protected," they said.
"The university is already implementing enhanced staff awareness and training provision as well as continuing to strengthen its information security policies and procedures."
The case is just the latest in a long line of incidents the ICO has ruled on lately, with several councils recently hit with fines, taking the total fines levied to over £1m.
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