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News

Government department head resigns after serious data loss.

PGP (GB) : 20 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
Breaches in data protection rules which led to sensitive personal data being stored and transported on disk and subsequently lost result in the resignation of HM Revenue and Customs Chairman.
Paul Gray, chairman of HM Revenue and Customs, has resigned following the loss of computer discs thought to contain the confidential details of 15 million child benefit recipients. The resignation of Mr Gray was accepted because the discs had been transported in breach of rules governing data protection.

Jamie Cowper, Director of European Marketing at PGP Corporation, has made the following comments:

'The UK's understanding of the threats around data breaches has certainly come a long way if the Chairman of HMRC has to resign over this incident - potentially the UK's biggest data breach to date - but you have to ask whether this is really going to help solve the operational risk issues that the orgasisation clearly faces.

These discs should never have been transported in the first place - information of this type should only be transmitted using the strongest security protocols available such as encrypted batch transfer - but more to the point, these details should not have been stored in this medium.

Discs are easy to lose, but difficult to protect. This type of information should only be stored on formats where the data can be encrypted transparently, so that it remains protected wherever it resides, and whether at rest or in motion.'

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