Tuesday, 20 November 2007
The missing discs
Obviously the news that two discs containing the personal data of millions of families have been lost in the post en route from HMRC to the NAO is appalling. But I don't see that Alistair Darling can in any way be held personally responsible. The policy was clear; the discs should never have been put in the post. A junior HMRC official breached the security provisions. The Chancellor could not by any stretch of the imagination be expected to have prevented this happening. At least the disks were password protected, and the chances of them falling into the wrong hands are slight, but the data should have been encrypted and, if discs needed to be sent anywhere at all, they should certainly not have been chucked in the internal mail. And it is entirely reasonable to ask whether a junior official should have been given access to such data by his or her bosses. No doubt we will find out more tomorrow.