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

Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic will not be a topic for an information breach investigation “at this stage”, a prime regulator has mentioned.

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who labored with former well being secretary Hancock on his guide, Pandemic Diaries, handed over hundreds 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 mentioned academics wished an “excuse” to not work.

However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which displays information 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 should be thought of by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”

In a press release at this time, Hancock mentioned: “I’m vastly disenchanted 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 based mostly 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 prematurely of the leak – which he refuted, however mentioned he had instructed her the leak was a “large mistake”.

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

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

“Final yr, the ICO known as for a evaluation into the usage of non-public messaging apps inside authorities, and we’d reiterate that decision at this time.

“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 selections is secured and classes learnt for the long run.”

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