What is a Personal Data Breach


A personal data breach is an event that has the potential to affect the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data held by the Scout Group or Scouting Ireland in any format. Personal data breaches can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • the disclosure of confidential data to unauthorised individuals
  • the loss or theft of portable devices or equipment containing identifiable personal, confidential or sensitive data e.g. PCs, USB, mobile phones, laptops, disks etc.
  • the loss or theft of paper records
  • a suspected breach of the IT security
  • attempts to gain unauthorised access to computer systems, e.g. hacking
  • records altered or deleted without authorisation from the data ‘owner’
  • viruses or other security attacks on IT equipment systems or networks
  • breaches of physical security e.g. forcing of doors or windows into a secure room or filing cabinet containing confidential information
  • confidential information left unlocked in an accessible area
  • the insecure disposal of confidential paper waste
  • leaving IT equipment unattended when logged into a user account without locking the screen to stop others accessing information
  • the publication of confidential data on the internet in error and/or accidental disclosure of passwords
  • misdirected emails or faxes containing identifiable personal, confidential or sensitive data


This can happen in multiple ways. Below are a few examples of data breaches:

Personal Data - Contacts 

  • The group leader sends an email to all the parents using the cc function instead of the bcc function meaning all email addresses are now accessible to everyone on the list.

Sensitive Data – Medical Info:

  • The laptop of the Group Leader is stolen containing copies of the Managing Medications form for the Cub Section.
  • The Scout Den is broken into and the locked office and filing cabinets have been forcefully opened; the Membership Application Forms and Accident / Incident Forms are now missing.

Personal Data - PassportDetails:

  • A Scouter loses the folder filled with copies of the passport details of the youth members in the Scout Section on a train in Spain.