Feeds

Confidential report reveals ContactPoint security fears

ICO orders much-delayed publication

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

An independent study on the previous government's controversial child protection database highlighted significant security and privacy risks.

Deloitte found significant shortcomings in the security of the ContactPoint database when it evaluated the system back in 2008. But only a summary of its report was ever published prior to May's general election despite repeated calls by the then opposition to publish the security audit in full. Attempts by the Tories and children's charities to use Freedom of Information Act requests to force the publication of the report were also rebuffed.

Now, following a change of government, the Information Commissioner has ordered the publication of the main (partially redacted) findings of Deloitte's study, which reveals that management consultants were concerned about issues including inconsistent security standards at local councils with access to the database and the insecure disposal of computers used to access the system. Auditors were concerned that kit sold on eBay or dumped might contain portions of the confidential database, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The confidential Deloitte security audit warned of significant residual security risks in running the database despite the best efforts of its architects to make the system secure.

In particular inconsistent security policies at local authorities "pose a significant risk to ContactPoint and its assets". The auditors also warned of the possibility of "information leakage" from the insecure disposal of electronic and printed records from the ContactPoint database.

The ContactPoint system was due to include the names, addresses and contact details of all 11 million under-18s in England. The child protection database was designed to provide social workers, police and hospitals with common access to contact details on children, their guardians and other professionals who might be working with a potential vulnerable child. Contact details on an estimated 52,000 at-risk children would have been shielded.

Security experts quizzed by The Reg warned that the sheer volume of data held on the database and the wide number of professionals authorised to access it made data breaches almost inevitable. Ministers gave the go-ahead for the national roll-out of the system last November.

ContactPoint was due to cost £224m to establish, with a further £44m in annual running costs. Before the election both main opposition parties pledged to scrap the system but since then the Coalition Government has delayed its closure amid speculation, denied by the government, that the system may continue in a scaled-down form.

A Department for Education spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: "One of the first actions for the department immediately after the election was to start shutting down ContactPoint.

"We are currently looking at ways of salvaging investment which went into the system and we will terminate its operation soon. We have issued advice to local authorities that no more resources should be ploughed into the system." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.