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

Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic are usually not a topic for an information 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 residence take a look at recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson stated lecturers wished an “excuse” to not work.

However watchdog the Info Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which screens 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 data which must be thought-about by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”

In a press release at present, Hancock stated: “I’m vastly disillusioned 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 large breach.”

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

Oakeshott additionally claimed the MP had despatched her a “menacing” message prematurely of the leak – which he refuted, however stated he had advised her the leak was a “large 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 using Whatsapp and different non-public channels carry, notably round transparency.

“Final yr, the ICO known as for a assessment into using non-public messaging apps inside authorities, and we might reiterate that decision at present.

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

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