Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic usually are not a topic for a knowledge breach investigation “at this stage”, a prime regulator has mentioned.
Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who labored with former well being secretary Hancock on his e book, Pandemic Diaries, handed over hundreds of Whatsapp messages to the Telegraph.
The paper revealed claims together with that Hancock rejected care dwelling take a look at recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson mentioned academics needed an “excuse” to not work.
However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which screens information 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 circumstances on which departing members of presidency retain and subsequently use official data which should be thought of by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”
In a press release as we speak, Hancock mentioned: “I’m massively dissatisfied and unhappy on the huge betrayal and breach of belief by Isabel Oakeshott.”
He added: “There’s completely no public curiosity case for this big breach.”
Hancock mentioned his working relationship with Oakeshott was based mostly on “authorized confidentiality” and “a course of authorised 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 “large mistake”.
The ICO spokesperson mentioned there have been exemptions round journalism and public curiosity points.
They mentioned protection “elevate[s] questions concerning the dangers that using Whatsapp and different non-public channels carry, significantly round transparency.
“Final 12 months, the ICO known as for a assessment into using non-public messaging apps inside authorities, and we might reiterate that decision as we speak.
“Public officers ought to be capable of present their workings, by way of correct recording of selections and the FoI Act, to make sure belief in these choices is secured and classes learnt for the long run.”