Feeds

Government personal data handling 'better'

Report smiles on efforts to be less leaky

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Measures put in place by the Government to better protect individuals' personal data have been successful but more work is needed, according to the first annual internal report due under the new regime.

After a series of embarrassing losses of personal information, including the 2007 loss of discs containing the names, addresses and bank details of 25 million child benefit claimants, the Government conducted a Data Handling Review (DHR).

The job of the DHR was to change the way that Government treated personal and sensitive data. The Review, completed in 2008, ordered that an annual report be published on the progress of the plans.

"The cultural, procedural and technical measures put in place by the DHR have led to a substantial improvement in the way that government protects information," said the report. "It is also clear that the landscape is continually changing and that we must adapt accordingly."

"A huge amount of work has been, and will continue to be, devoted to making sure the right protection for information is in place. There is no doubt that this task, and keeping pace with change is and remains, challenging," said the report. "The way that the internet has changed and shaped society over the course of the last decade serves to highlight the importance of information, how it is held, transferred and used."

The original Review did not examine the circumstances of previous data losses, but looked forward to proposed changes in Government behaviour. It was carried out by Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell and recommended the establishment of minimum security measures across Government for personal data; mandatory training for civil servants; and the establishment of standard data security responsibilities within departments.

"We have made significant and far-reaching progress in bringing about a culture change in the way that we value and handle personal data," said O'Donnell in the report on the progress made since 2008. "We have tightened processes and enhanced the skills of public sector staff that handle personal data with well over 450,000 civil servants trained in data security awareness since the publication of the DHR."

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said in the report that his organisation still had work to do to ensure the full implementation of the DHR's recommendations.

"Armed with our new powers of assessment, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will aim to help Departments to live up to their commitments," he said. "In this way, the ICO will be helping to keep Whitehall up to scratch. But we also have a major job of education to do, helping organisations, both public and private, stick to the rules and keep out of trouble."

"It is clear that there remains no room for complacency," said Graham. "As organisations continue to use information, and do so in new ways, government must keep pace and ensure that the right protections are in place to safeguard public trust."

See:

* The report (30-pg/850KB pdf)

* The Data Handling Review (46-pg/218KB pdf)

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.