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

Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic should not a topic for a knowledge breach investigation “at this stage”, a prime regulator has stated.

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 printed claims together with that Hancock rejected care dwelling check recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson stated lecturers needed an “excuse” to not work.

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

A spokesperson stated: “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 have to be thought of by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”

In a press release at present, Hancock stated: “I’m vastly dissatisfied and unhappy on the huge betrayal and breach of belief by Isabel Oakeshott.”

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

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

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

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

They stated protection “elevate[s] questions concerning the dangers that the usage of Whatsapp and different non-public channels carry, significantly round transparency.

“Final 12 months, the ICO known as for a assessment into the usage of non-public messaging apps inside authorities, and we’d reiterate that decision at present.

“Public officers ought to be capable of present their workings, by way of 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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