Matt Hancock leaked Whatsapps not ‘a matter’ for data breach inquiry, says regulator

Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic usually are not a topic for an information breach investigation “at this stage”, a high regulator has mentioned.

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who labored with former well being secretary Hancock on his e-book, Pandemic Diaries, handed over hundreds of Whatsapp messages to the Telegraph.

The paper revealed claims together with that Hancock rejected care house take a look at recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson mentioned lecturers wished an “excuse” to not work.

However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which displays knowledge safety regulation compliance, together with GDPR – mentioned the disclosures weren’t a “matter” for them.

A spokesperson mentioned: “At this stage we don’t see this as a matter for the ICO however there are questions across the circumstances on which departing members of presidency retain and subsequently use official info which must be thought of by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”

In a press release at the moment, Hancock mentioned: “I’m vastly disillusioned and unhappy on the large betrayal and breach of belief by Isabel Oakeshott.”

He added: “There may be completely no public curiosity case for this enormous breach.”

Hancock mentioned his working relationship with Oakeshott was primarily based on “authorized confidentiality” and “a course of accredited by the Cupboard Workplace” however he mentioned she had “damaged that belief”.

Oakeshott additionally claimed the MP had despatched her a “menacing” message upfront of the leak – which he refuted, however mentioned he had advised her the leak was a “huge mistake”.

The ICO spokesperson mentioned there have been exemptions round journalism and public curiosity points.

They mentioned protection “elevate[s] questions in regards to the dangers that using Whatsapp and different personal channels convey, notably round transparency.

“Final yr, the ICO referred to as for a overview into using personal messaging apps inside authorities, and we might reiterate that decision at the moment.

“Public officers ought to have the ability to present their workings, via correct recording of choices and the FoI Act, to make sure belief in these choices is secured and classes learnt for the long run.”

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