Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic are usually not a topic for a knowledge breach investigation “at this stage”, a high regulator has mentioned.
Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who labored with former well being secretary Hancock on his e-book, Pandemic Diaries, handed over 1000’s of Whatsapp messages to the Telegraph.
The paper printed claims together with that Hancock rejected care dwelling take a look at recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson mentioned lecturers needed an “excuse” to not work.
However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which screens knowledge safety regulation compliance, together with GDPR – mentioned the disclosures weren’t a “matter” for them.
A spokesperson mentioned: “At this stage we don’t see this as a matter for the ICO however there are questions across the situations on which departing members of presidency retain and subsequently use official data which must be thought of by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”
In a press release at this time, Hancock mentioned: “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 enormous breach.”
Hancock mentioned his working relationship with Oakeshott was primarily based on “authorized confidentiality” and “a course of accepted by the Cupboard Workplace” however he mentioned she had “damaged that belief”.
Oakeshott additionally claimed the MP had despatched her a “menacing” message prematurely of the leak – which he refuted, however mentioned he had advised her the leak was a “massive mistake”.
The ICO spokesperson mentioned there have been exemptions round journalism and public curiosity points.
They mentioned protection “increase[s] questions concerning the dangers that the usage of Whatsapp and different personal channels carry, notably round transparency.
“Final yr, the ICO known as for a evaluate into the usage of personal messaging apps inside authorities, and we’d reiterate that decision at this time.
“Public officers ought to have the ability to present their workings, by correct recording of choices and the FoI Act, to make sure belief in these choices is secured and classes learnt for the longer term.”