Swedish DPA has handed out a fine to SSC a government authority of SEK200k

All us DPOs who feel a bit more relaxed with the Corona times… thinking that no Data Protection Authority would be so unfeeling as to hand out a fine now…. think again..

My hat off to the Swedish DPA (Datainspektionen). A fine for SEK200k has been awarded to a Government Service Centre (SSC) which handles salaries and such for 47 Swedish government authorities. SSC is a processor to the 47 government authorities, although a controller to their own employees. It was a breach of 282k employees salary data, including their own.

In short the cause was a technical flaw in an application (Primera), and SSC failed to report not only to the controllers, but also the DPA…. but clearly the case is much more complex. Articles 24, 28, 32, 33-34 are all quoted in the report from Datainspektionen. This is a really important case and gives some really great clarifications, not only on personal data breach notification but also responsibilities of the controller/processor.

I tried to map it out below. Basically there were 2 fines:

  1. For the delay in reporting the breach to the controller (SEK150k), Article 33.2 and;
  2. For the delay in reporting to the Swedish DPA (SEK50k), Article 33.1.

Basically a personal data breach must be reported to the controller (if you are a processor) without undue delay. As soon as you know you have a breach, clearly you want to know why it happened, but this has to wait. What is important is to ascertain that a breach has happened, and it is personal data which has been breached. What happened in this case is that SSC wanted to understand more about why it happened, and the delays became serious.

On reporting as the controller, you have 72 hours to report to the DPA, and the same applies as above. During this time priority is to ascertain that a breach has occurred and have enough data to know if it has causes a risk to the rights and freedoms of the natural person. The cause of the breach is a ‘nice to have’ at this stage. You can always send in an updated report later when you know. These are not my opinions, these are facts.

There are always lots of politics which come into play when these kind of incidents occur. I believe SSC wasn’t just lacking in the breach process, but issues with conflicting opinions, and dilemmas.

There was also a problem with the DPA had with Evry, it was outdated, and not compliant with GDPR, but they got a warning for this, no fine.

I created some flows to get my head around this. The paper was quite long (and in Swedish), and loads of other data, e.g. there was an employee who found the bug and exploited the hole, ended up getting reported to the police… I think this was retracted by the Datainspektionen later.

I hope you find this useful? Feel free to ask questions… as I mentioned at the beginning, this is a super interesting case !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.