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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a report to Parliament about the use of private correspondence channels for government communications 📱

It found that private channels, such as WhatsApp, SMS text message, and private email were used extensively by ministers, officials and staff at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to conduct official business during the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, there may well have been risks to personal and private data as a result of doing this, without the right controls in place, and this was found to be a breach of the GDPR.

In practical terms, it is very common for employees to have work-related discussions over social media, inadvertently falling foul of the rules, some businesses simply don’t have any controls in place (common for small businesses) or any policies to set expectations in how and where business should be conducted.

As an employer, you should make it easy for employees to discuss work-related matters through your devices, systems and communication channels – the easier it is the less likely it is that any breaches will happen.

I’ve seen some really embarrassing and unprofessional conversational threads in my time.

Perhaps now is the time for a social media policy review? 💡

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