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UK Man Sentenced for Tweeting Personal Data

The ex-boyfriend of a former probationary police officer has been prosecuted after tweeting highly sensitive details about a vulnerable adult and threatening to publish even more personal data he acquired on a USB stick.

It’s unclear exactly how William Godfrey, 30, of Bull Lane, Bethersden, came into possession of the USB stick, but he had previously been in a relationship with a trainee Surrey Police officer, an ICO spokesperson confirmed to Infosecurity.

In July 2016 he tweeted the name and address of a “vulnerable adult,” together with info on their health and sexual life, to the accounts of the ICO, Independent Police Complaints Commission and Surrey Police.

On the same day he emailed the ICO threatening to publish yet more personal info from a 40-page document which included details of a victim of a sexual offence.

It then emerged that a separate Twitter account run by the same man had tweeted Surrey Police two days earlier, naming an individual and the fact that they had been searched by police in relation to an offence.

After failing to attend a meeting to hand over the USB stick, Godfrey was eventually forced to do so by an injunction taken out by Surrey Police, the ICO revealed.

He admitted two offences of unlawfully disclosing personal data in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act and received a 12-month conditional discharge on tight bail conditions.

“People should always be careful about what they share on social media, both about themselves and others. But when it’s sensitive and confidential personal information that they have no right to see or possess in the first place, then we will not hesitate to take action to protect people’s rights,” said ICO head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley.

”Surrey Police has also signed an undertaking to improve its procedures as a result of this case, and we are satisfied that many of our recommendations have already been taken on board.”

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