Bus driver sacked after using NHS Test and Trace to send ‘creepy’ texts to woman

A bus driver who breached the NHS Test and Trace system to get hold of a woman's details has been sacked.

Kat Kingsley, 25, handed over her personal details in case the company needed to contact her in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

However, she was shocked when the driver from the Original Tour bus in Windsor used her number to message her twice instead.

The man, who she said was Italian, asked to see her again and said she had been "living in his head".

In the messages, which were sent three days after the trip, he admitted "knowing all the risk involved in using data that's not supposed to be for me".

Kat, who works as a nanny, got on the bus on Thursday, September 10, with a child she was looking after.

She gave her name and phone number to a staff member who wrote it down on a piece of paper for the NHS Test and Trace system.

Kat, from Hayle, Cornwall, described the messages she received the Sunday night as "creepy" and claimed they left her "weirded out".

She was left shaking after reporting the incident.

She said: "I am a nanny and I took the child I was caring for to Windsor for a day out, and wanted to take him on the open top bus.

"I bought a ticket off the man, I cannot remember his name, only that he was Italian, and before getting on the bus I had to sign my name and number on the track and trace paper which was a clipboard he was holding.

"We got on the bus, had a great time, said our goodbyes. This was on Thursday.

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"Then on Sunday night at about 10pm, I received very strange messages from the bus ticket man.

"At first I was pretty shocked, I never thought this would happen to me – but I figured I'd wait until the morning to ask for advice from people.

"When I woke up I thought about it more and more, and realised how big of an issue this actually is.

"Not only that, but he had mentioned the child's name in the messages as well. So as a duty of care for the child, I had to report it anyway.

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"I suffer from situational anxiety, and I was so anxious not only that this had happened, but the fact I had to go and tell the family that unfortunately their child is involved.

"I was quite literally shaking all morning, when I told the parents. I have a number for a man that works for the company to give me a formal apology, but I'm not sure how I want to follow through yet.

"I would just urge people to be cautious as the system is not very safe and needs re-evaluating.

"Now I don't think I will give my details over again. I'm going to be wary of everywhere else."

The company have launched an investigation and said it "takes the matter extremely seriously".

Kat said she feels the test and trace system needs re-evaluating and warns others of the dangers of handing over personal details.

She said: "The government really need to re-assess the track and trace system. All it'd take is for the wrong person to get the wrong information and somebody could end up in a much worse position than I.

"I want to know how our Government can make our data safer.

"I just sort of stared at the messages trying to figure it out. It seems like a small thing when you first look at it, but when you look into it you realise it's much bigger."

Original Tour said if the incident was "proven from our investigation, this is totally unacceptable" and it would take appropriate action.

A spokesperson added: "It goes against the values of our organisation entirely."

The employee has now been fired, a spokesperson has confirmed to The Sun.

Reacting to the news, she told the BBC: "He didn't resign, he went through the disciplinary process and I think he expected to keep his job but I got a call yesterday to say he had been fired.

"I think it should teach him a lesson and hopefully deter anyone else who was considering breaching data [protection]."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "The unauthorised use of customers' information provided for contact tracing is unacceptable and every business must comply with all data protection legislation."

The NHS Test and Trace system launched in May in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It is designed to help venues and services to contact people if they may have come into contact with someone with Covid-19 while using their services.

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