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 are usually 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 guide, Pandemic Diaries, handed over 1000’s of Whatsapp messages to the Telegraph.

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

However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which screens 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 situations 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 an announcement right now, Hancock mentioned: “I’m vastly dissatisfied 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 big breach.”

Hancock mentioned his working relationship with Oakeshott was primarily based on “authorized confidentiality” and “a course of permitted 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 informed her the leak was a “massive 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 non-public channels carry, notably round transparency.

“Final 12 months, the ICO referred to as for a evaluate into using non-public messaging apps inside authorities, and we might reiterate that decision right now.

“Public officers ought to be capable of present their workings, by correct recording of choices and the FoI Act, to make sure belief in these choices is secured and classes learnt for the longer term.”

Back To Top