A car repair worker has been sentenced to jail for stealing customers’ personal data from his former employer.
The Information Commissioner’s Office( ICO) says it is the first time someone will go to prison as a result of a event it has prosecuted.
Mustafa Kasim stole accident information and the mentions, phone numbers and vehicle details of those involved.
One expert said the ICO appeared to have “seen the light” about its powers.
Kasim utilized a former co-workers’ login details to access software used to estimate fixing expenses, which accumulated the personal information.
He was sentenced to six months in prison after alleging guilty to the offence at London’s Wood Green Crown Court.
The regulator became involved after the accused’s former workplace – Nationwide Accident Repair Service – became aware its clients were being targeted by nuisance calls and accompanied the matter to the ICO’s attention.
The watchdog commonly prosecutes offences like this under the Data Protection Act, which cannot have contributed to prison, but opted in this case to use the Computer Misuse Act, which commits tribunals greater latitude when it comes to sentencing.
A spokeswoman said it manifested the fact the ICO wanted to use “the most appropriate and effective powers” is accessible to it.
Computers& Law magazine’s website editor said other such prosecutions might now follow.
“While I welcome the decision to prosecute for the purposes of the 1990 routine,[ the convict] seems surprising, though it is never easy to judge these circumstances without knowing the full details and antecedents, ” wrote Laurence Eastham.
“Given high levels of illegal nuisance calls that result in monetary penalties imposed on companionships which are never paid, Mustafa Kasim might consider himself unlucky to be in jail.”