Home Office staff: Over 100 of our work mobiles lost or pinched last year

Where did you say you'd run those mega-database apps again?

Phone thief, photo via Shutterstock

The UK Home Office has revealed that its ICT losses for 2015 amounted to 125 devices.

In a publication today, notably pushed out shortly after The Register's expose of the department's mega database project, the Home Office has published information about its annual ICT losses for 2015.

These losses may provoke concern as the Home Office plans for the unregulated mega database involve creating “interactive applications” which would “run on hand-held devices,” presumably including the 105 lost BlackBerrys and mobile phones which the department had managed to shed during the last year. Six mobile devices were reported as stolen, bringing the total up to 111..

Only one of the lost and stolen was recovered throughout the whole year, raising further questions about access to this enormous database. Furthermore, six laptops were also "lost" and another six reported as stolen throughout 2015.

Fortunately, no removable media was lost or stolen during the period, although that didn't stop the department from suffering 33 data breaches during the period, including one instance in which the Home Office – responsible for the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, MI5 – lost paper documents containing "sensitive personal information relating to security vetting."

Back in January the department responsible counter-terrorism also reported that a Dictaphone was "lost in the home of member of staff", although this seemingly is not included in any of the categories mentioned, and the loss of such devices may ultimately not be reported.

A Home Office spokesman told The Register: "The Home Office takes ICT security extremely seriously. All staff that use equipment sign an agreement on how they can use the kit and the care expected of them. All technology is robustly encrypted and password secured. On the rare occasions when equipment is lost – we take swift action to ensure that information is secure and where possible the item is recovered." ®

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