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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.