Wigan Borough Councilhas given undertakings to the Data Commissioner after the unencrypted personal details of 43,000 children and young people were lost after the theft of a laptop.\nThe information had been downloaded on to the laptop in breach of council policy. Although the laptop was stored in a locked office, the data on the device was not protected as the laptop was not encrypted.\nThe laptop was stolen on 27 January from the council\u2019s offices but the authority only disclosed the incident, more than two months on. Other laptops were also stolen at the time.\nFollowing the breach, Nick Hudson, director of children and young people\u2019s services at Wigan council, said: \u201cWe have taken the step of informing the public of the borough about the theft because we believe people deserve to know what has happened.\u201d\n\u201cApart from the names, the data on the children is in the form of numbers and codes and there are no comments or individual case notes,\u201d he added. The council is now investigating the theft.\nCommenting on the ruling against Wigan, Sally-Anne Poole, head of enforcement at the ICO, said: \u201cI strongly advise organisations to avoid instances where employees can download large volumes of personal information.\n\u201cThis incident could have been averted if the data was simply accessed from the main council computer network. Storing large volumes of personal information on portable devices is unnecessarily risky. I am pleased that the council has taken action to guard against security breaches of this nature.\u201d\nThe council will ensure that portable and mobile devices, including laptops and other portable media, are encrypted. Additional training on secure data storage, backed up by stronger enforcement procedures has been agreed with the ICO.