BBC workers lose £240k of tech gear in two years
FoI request reveals missing kit
The BBC lost laptops and mobiles worth a total of £241,019 in the past two years.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by computer security outfit Absolute Software revealed the Beeb’s losses this morning, reports the Press Association.
Staff at the Corporation, BBC Worldwide and other Auntie subsidiaries reported that 146 laptops, 65 mobile phones and 17 BlackBerry handsets had been lost between April 2008 and March this year.
According to the FoI response, the missing laptops were valued at a total of £219,000, the mobiles at £12,913 and the BlackBerrys at £9,106. However, 19 gadgets worth £23,450 were later recovered. That left the BBC out of pocket by £217,569.
Absolute Software took the opportunity to warn that organisations such as the BBC needed to be more careful with their tech gear.
"It is shocking that any organisation could lose so much equipment, but the BBC is just one of many we've seen recently, proving it's all too common,” said the company’s European general manager Dave Everitt.
"In this case, however, this technology is paid for by the licence payer and employees should be far more careful about how they handle it."
Just one BBC employee was probed over a stolen laptop, but the corp could not confirm if any of its workers had been disciplined due to the losses.
“The BBC takes theft very seriously and has implemented a number of measures to reduce the level of crime,” said a BBC spokeswoman, who also pointed out that the Beeb has thousands of visitors through its doors every week.
“The portability of laptops and phones means that in any large organisation there is an inevitable risk of theft.”
Auntie said that its mobile tech gear was “appropriately protected” and added “data security breach procedures” are applied immediately after an employee reports tech kit missing.
"The BBC investigation service is involved whenever an allegation of theft is made, and where appropriate the police are informed and prosecutions brought where we can," the BBC spokeswoman said. ®
Corporation In Tosspot Self-Punt Attention-Seeking Stunt Horror Shocker!
Bigging Self Up By Bugging Beeb. "Not Loose Change Down Back Of Sofa" Says Cheapjack Publicity Spokesbot Dave Everitt About Loose Change Down Back Of Sofa.
"Not Riding On FOI For Self Gain" It Continued. "Not Us. No"
Picked Up By The Register For Some Reason.
Not a chance
I have a simple response to that: "no." If you want me to have a BlackBerry or laptop with which to do my work then you must take the risk, take out insurance or don't give them to me in the first place.
Perhaps the more significant story here is that the people at Absolute Software (strapline from their website "Absolute Software specialises in software and services that provide an easy way to manage and secure computers."!), think it is acceptable to use FoI requests to try a sell their tat.
I'm reasonably sure the folks at the BBC have better things to spend their time and money on than some free advertising for them.
It makes their assertion that "In this case, however, this technology is paid for by the licence payer and employees should be far more careful about how they handle it." seem rather hypocritical to me.
Given the size of the BBC...
Given the size of the BBC, I was expecting a much higher number.
"software vendor makes mountain from molehill to try to sell tat"?
That's less than 0.007% of the Beeb's budget
Last year's budget for the beeb was £3.5bn. There are about 25 million license fee payers.
£22k works out at less than 1p per license payer (not per viewer), per year.
So yes, this is fiddling small change. And for an organisation of about 20k+ staff (including all the Worldwide operations), only losing a hundred or so bits of kit, globally, isn't actually that bad. Not ideal, but not too bad. It's about the same as a 150 person company having one loss per year, which is about on par with my experience (especially when you include phones)
I'd also be interested to know how much of this gear was lost by foreign correspondents, operating in some of the more 'interesting' parts of the world, rather than just being left on a train in London.