Feeds

Leaked email reveals civil service laptop rules

Civil servant finally leaks data correctly - to us...

The Power of One Infographic

The Register has received the email sent out to all staff at the Medical Research Council passing on instructions from the Cabinet Office that the ban on taking laptops out of the office could apply to mobile phones too.

The mail was sent to senior staff on Wednesday afternoon, but forwarded onto to everyone within the department this morning.

It warns staff that the first step is that no unencrypted laptops or drives containing personal data should be taken outside secured office premises. The mail said: "Clarification has been given that this applies to any mobile device with storage capacity, including mobile phones and PDA’s."

The email also provides a definition of what "personal data" actually is:

Any information that links one or more identifiable living person with private information about them” or “Any source of information about 1000 identifiable individuals or more, other than information sourced from the public domain.

The mail says senior staff are seeking clarification on what this will mean in practice, but meanwhile staff are told to "err on the side of caution... we should assume for the time being that emails and contacts stored in an email system count as personal data."

Here's the whole thing:

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 3:56 PM

Subject: Personal Data Security and Restrictions on use of Laptops

Colleagues

Following the recent government-wide review of procedures for the storage and use of data, we received a letter this morning from Ian Watmore, Permanent Secretary of the DIUS containing new Cabinet Office instructions and guidance on personal data.

There is a programme of actions that have to be undertaken, but the most immediate states that “From now on, no unencrypted laptops or drives containing personal data should be taken outside secured office premises.” Clarification has been given that this applies to any mobile device with storage capacity, including mobile phones and PDA’s.

Personal data is defined as “Any information that links one or more identifiable living person with private information about them” or “Any source of information about 1000 identifiable individuals or more, other than information sourced from the public domain”. Clarification is being sought urgently on the interpretation of these rules in practice but as we have been instructed to err on the side of caution, we should assume for the time being that emails and contacts stored in an email system count as personal data.

With immediate effect therefore, please ensure that your Establishment complies with the instruction not to allow unencrypted laptops or drives containing personal data, including emails, to be taken outside of secured office premises.

We will be disseminating information about the other measures as soon as we can. If you have any questions about this, please contact the MRC’s Information Security Officer xxxx.xxxx@xxxx.mrc.ac.uk and he will do his best to answer them for you.

Regards

Nigel

Nigel Watts

Finance Director

MRC

20 Park Crescent

London W1B 1AL

Staff have been told encryption software will be installed on their machines next week. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.