Feeds

Home Office promises better personal data guards

ICO orders tightening of loose lips

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Home Office has promised privacy regulator the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that it will handle citizens' personal data securely in the future, after the ICO found it in breach of the Data Protection Act.

A contractor to the Home Office, PA Consulting, lost an unencrypted memory stick containing the sensitive personal information of thousands of people last year. The ICO has now made the Home Office sign a formal undertaking to protect citizens' data.

The Home Office has promised that all mobile or portable machines which carry personal data will be encrypted from now on, and that any contractor will also use encryption.

“The Data Protection Act clearly states that organisations must take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information is kept secure," said Assistant Commissioner Mick Gorrill. "The Home Office recognises the seriousness of this data loss and has agreed to take immediate remedial action. It has also agreed to conduct future audits to ensure compliance with the Act.”

The undertaking commits the Home Office to ensuring that anyone processing personal data for it will comply to the same standards as it, and that it will perform regular audits to ensure that that is the case.

"This case was serious because it involved thousands of individual records, which contained sensitive information on people serving custodial sentences and others previously convicted of criminal offences," said Gorrill. "This breach illustrates that even though a contractor lost the data, it is the data controller (the Home Office) which is responsible for the security of the information. It is vital that sensitive personal information is handled properly and held securely at all times."

The ICO could have issued an enforcement notice against the Home Office, a breach of which would be a criminal offence carrying a fine of up to £5,000. The Home Office agreed to the undertaking "in consideration of the Commissioner not exercising his powers to serve an enforcement notice," the undertaking said.

The ICO has also taken similar action against Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

An unencrypted laptop containing sensitive information on 5,000 people was lost by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust while Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust lost an unencrypted memory stick containing details on patients and staff.

The two organisations also signed undertakings promising to protect personal information in their care.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA
Yes, the National Association of Theater Owners is quite upset
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.