Feeds

Civil servants still sticking unencrypted data in the post

Court case CDs go missing

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Groundhog Data Today's story of a cretinous government data giveaway is brought to you by... the Ministry of Justice.

On the scale of government ineptitude this hardly ranks alongside the loss of 25 million child benefit details last year, nor the loss of a laptop containing unencrypted details of members of the armed forces - but it is still serious.

A story in this morning's Daily Mail revealed that four CDs were sent in the post and included details on 55 defendants and other restricted information, "potentially including" highly sensitive details of alleged victims of and witnesses to crimes.

The CDs were sent recorded delivery on 15 December but never arrived. The discs related to people in the Manchester area, and were part of an investigation into claims that magistrates are dropping cases where the defendants do not turn up to court dates.

The paper believes one of the four discs was either password-protected or encrypted.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed the screw-up and said it was investigating. It sent us the following statement:

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Court Administration (HMICA) confirms that 4 CDROMs are missing. They were sent recorded delivery. Ministers and the Information Commissioner were notified immediately it was recognised that personal data had been lost. An investigation is underway so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

This looks horribly similar to the HMRC debacle which emerged back in November. At the time, the government kicked off a series of investigations and reviews into data protection. It also pledged to tighten up on procedures, give the Information Commissioner the right to make spot checks on government departments, and to introduce tougher penalties for data breaches.

The head of HMRC, in a letter to people affected by the HMRC data breach, said, "And I can assure you that all efforts are being made to ensure that such a loss can never happen again." Clearly the letter never reached the court service.

Simon Davies of Privacy International said it was unbelievable that there was not a total ban on any government agency sending unprotected discs through the post, and that the government was treating our data with contempt.

The Mail story is here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.