Feeds

Civil servants still sticking unencrypted data in the post

Court case CDs go missing

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.