Feeds

Foreign Office reports five data losses to Info Commissioner

Our man in the corner

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has reported five significant data breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office in the last financial year, in total affecting less than 188 people.

The losses have been disclosed within the department's resource accounts (pdf) for the year ending 31 March 2008.

They show that in September 2007, it lost data on 70 people, including their names, addresses, dates of birth and family details, through the loss of a computer, "outside secured government premises". In December information on 36 people, extending to passport number, financial and employment details, was lost on paper, again outside government offices.

The only serious breach caused by unauthorised disclosure by a contractor, rather than by lost equipment or documents, was in May last year, which resulted in "less than 50 believed to be affected" and was reported publicly.

This appears to refer to vulnerabilities with the UK visa application website, run by contractor VFS in India, potentially making 50,000 people's data vulnerable. The ICO found that the FCO had breached the Data Protection Act as a result, and the department signed a formal undertaking to comply with the act in future. The FCO was not able to provide immediate further comment.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in its resource accounts (pdf), said it reported two incidents to the ICO during 2007-08. One, involving the loss of payslips in November, affected 14 people.

The department has since stopped printing full bank account details on its payslips, and says it will use Royal Mail special delivery for deliveries to the office where this incident occurred. The other, in January, concerned the unauthorised disclosure of one person's name, employment record and skills.

In a summary table of events not deemed serious enough to be reported to the ICO, Defra said that it had experienced 15 further incidents of lost data, either on paper or on "inadequately protected electronic equipment", five within secure government premises and 10 outside.

The FCO's equivalent table reported one loss of data within government premises, two outside, and one unauthorised disclosure.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
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
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.