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.

3 comments:

Gary said...

I think it's appalling too! I also agree that Darling cannot be held accountable either as he has only been in the job for a few months. The person who should be held accountable is Gordon Brown! After all he was Chancellor for the last 10 years and should have had safeguards in place. It's interesting to note that if I were to breach data protection in work, I can be personally prosecuted. I wonder if anyone at all will be prosecuted for this disgraceful cock up!

The Bristol Blogger said...

"A junior HMRC official breached the security provisions"

No. The problem is there were no "security provisions" to breach. It seems at the Inland Revenue anybody, no matter how junior, can simply download a database if they feel like it.

Where were the simple checks and balances, necessary to any basic security system?

Of course, as usual, it's a blame free zone where politicians are concerned. But you should all go. You can't even manage a database properly, let alone the country.

Gary said...

I don't blame the 23 year old HMRC office junior. He was clearly told what to do by someone senior and now seems to have been forced to resign! Yet again, the government fails the country on a massive scale. Will any government heads roll? No, because most of them have their heads up their arse!