Feeds

Leaked email reveals civil service laptop rules

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.