Data protection advice: printing

This advice was given by an IT department in September 2015. It offers a useful indication of the way people can breach the Data Protection Act through carelessness – which is not a defence.
Dear Colleagues
It has come to our attention that occasionally sensitive/confidential printed output has been left on printers unattended. Such incidents have the potential to cause a Data Protection breach.
Accordingly, when printing sensitive/confidential material, you should:
·         Consider the need to print the information at all – and avoid printing it if not essential. 
·         If you decide that it is essential, then;
·         Never print sensitive/confidential content on a printer located in a publicly accessible or general open-access area.
·         Only choose to print such information on a printer which is in a ‘secure location’ (in this context ‘secure location’ means an access-controlled office which either is, or can be, restricted to appropriate staff for the duration of the print job). 
·         Ensure that the whole print job is complete by page-counting it before you vacate the printer (as sometimes the process will pause, making it appear that the print job has finished when, in fact, it hasn’t and could continue after you have left).
·         Make sure that any restricted information that you print cannot be seen by any unauthorised person/s.
·         Ensure that access to any physical copies of the information produced (including any copies of the information made after the initial printing) remain appropriately restricted and that (once the work in hand has been completed) the material is either securely filed or, if no longer required, securely destroyed by cross-cut shredding or secure incineration).
IT Services

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