Feeds

Home Office screws prison data bunglers

PA Consulting feels Jacqui's wrath

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Home Office has today terminated a £1.5m contract with PA Consulting after it lost the personal details of the entire UK prison population.

In August the firm admitted to officials that it had downloaded the prisons database to an unencrypted memory stick, against the security terms of its contract to manage the JTrack prolific offender tracking system. The data included names, addresses and dates of birth, and was broken down by how frequently individuals had offended.

Following an inquiry into the gaffe, Jacqui Smith told the House of Commons today that PA Consulting's £8m of other Home Office contracts are now also under review. She said: "The Home Office have decided to terminate this contract. My officials are currently working with PA to take this work back in-house without affecting the operation of JTrack."

Data handling for JTrack has been taken on by the Home Office, and maintenance and training are due in-house by December.

The inquiry found the Home Office had transferred the data to PA Consulting securely, but that the firm then dumped it to unlabelled USB memory to transfer it between computers at its premises. The stick hasn't been found. Smith said: "This was a clear breach of the robust terms of the contract covering security and data handling."

A safety assessment carried out with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Ministry of Justice said the risk to the public and to the individuals whose data was lost was "low".

PA Consulting's other Home Office contracts include data work for the UK Border agency, Identity and Passport Service, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Security Industry Authority and the National Police Improvement Agency. The expense of cancelling the JTrack contract will be borne by PA Consulting and not taxpayers, Smith pledged.

The details of the data loss will now be passed to the Cabinet Office, which is mounting a government-wide push to improve security amid a series of similar incidents involving both civil servants and contractors.

At the weekend it emerged that EDS had lost the personal details of 5,000 prison officers and support staff, so at least the lags and their jailers have something more in common. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.