Council blunder leaves cabbie details on show


By Cara Sulieman

PERSONAL details and criminal convictions of taxi drivers have been published on the internet after a blunder by a Scots council.

The information was published on the East Lothian Council website by mistake ahead of today’s licensing meeting.

It included full details of license applications including previous convictions ranging from minor driving offences to assault and drug dealing.

As well as the cabbies’ details, the names and addresses of members of the public who had complained about drivers were posted.

The information was removed after the council received a call from a member of the public, but had already been accessed by a number of people.

One of the people who had lodged a complaint against a taxi driver was furious over the blunder and vowed to complain about the council’s actions.

He said: “I think it shows negligence by East Lothian Council not to have got in touch with me – it should have been the first thing they did.

“I am devastated that my address and telephone number have appeared online and will be contacting my solicitor and East Lothian Council.

“The problem is that the taxi driver who I was complaining about in the first place could get to know where I live.

“It was meant to be confidential.

“I now find myself where someone put my name over the internet.

“I’m gutted about it and I am going to be seeking legal advice and I want an inquiry.”

Today, the council apologised for their mistake and said they were carrying out an investigation.

A council spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, due to staff error, these private papers appeared on the council’s committee web pages for a short period.

“As soon as the relevant council officials were informed of the error, the papers were removed from the website and the UK Information Commissioner’s office was immediately notified of the breach in data protection.

“This was a serious error on the part of the council.

“We have sent letters to the individuals named in the papers apologising unreservedly for any distress caused.

“Following an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, we have also taken steps to improve our procedures to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Dunbar ward councillor Norman Hampshire said the council “could be in real trouble” if action is taken by the Information Commissioner.

Council Leader Paul McLennan said the error was “unfortunate” and that the council had already concluded an internal inquiry.