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GCHQ commits schoolboy security blunder

Now pay attention, Bond, this is the bcc button

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Exciting news from UK spooks at GCHQ - it's the new and improved "Guidance document on use of Smartphones in Government".

The only problem with this riveting press release from GCHQ is that someone forgot to use the bcc function - instead, the message reveals the email address of every journalist on the list. The list comes from CESG - the UK's National Technical Authority for Information Guidance at GCHQ.

Now we're not too precious about this because we already meet a lot of weirdies off the internet, but surely Britain's secret agents should know better.

There's not much to the new guidance either - or not that we can see. The only people allowed to see the actual guidance are those with secure government intranet access.

All we do know is that the guidance is for the least interesting levels of secrecy - up to Restricted but not beyond. Even the toilet paper is marked Restricted in government offices handling juicy info. So this is advice for lower risk data and not for the truly secret stuff.

Although there is advice for Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and Research In Motion, only RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Solution has been formally evaluated and "approved to protect material classified up to and including RESTRICTED".

So it looks like Google's Android phones won't be winning many public sector contracts any time soon.

We can only hope the advice includes changing your default voicemail password to keep those pesky tabloid hacks at bay, not playing loud music on the bus and of course a lengthy chapter on the use of the bcc function. ®

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