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News

Mandatory encryption preferential to ciminalising Doctors.

SafeBoot : 15 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
Safeboot believes that the criminalisation of Doctors who allow their laptops to fall into the wrong hands is disproportionate and mandatory encryption provides the preventive measures that far outweigh the advantage of any curative approach.
The Information Commissioner has announced that doctors could be held responsible for the theft of their laptops if it can be proved they were negligent. This will enforce compliance with new data protection laws and ensure doctors take every step in their power to protect their patients' sensitive data.

This announcement has sparked controversy, with Lord Lyell claiming that it is disproportionate to criminalise doctors for losing a laptop. Tom de Jongh, product manager, SafeBoot, a leading vendor of enterprise-class security software for the protection of mobile data that resides on mobile and portable devices and computers, agrees and feels a much easier way to deal with this situation is to make mobile device encryption mandatory.

"The records held on doctors' computers are indisputably highly sensitive and action must be taken to prevent loss or theft of data. We are living in a world where cyber crime is on the rise and data theft cases are a daily occurrence. As such, it is good to see that the Information Commissioner is finally starting to think about how to protect the sensitive data doctors carry around with them. The 'human factor' is the biggest threat to data and implementing a serious law to ensure this is expelled is important. However, it must be the right law.

"Criminalising doctors for having their laptop stolen sounds to me like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer. The fact is whenever a piece of equipment leaves the doctors environment it has the potential to go missing. With the best intentions in the world things get stolen - this is what I call the 'human factor'. A doctor cannot guarantee that he or she will not fall victim of a crime and should not be punished for this.

"As such, I feel the first step should be to create legislation stipulating the mandatory use of data encryption. Only if this is ignored should there be a punishment that fits the crime. A robust password and content encryption protocol will ensure that data never reaches the hands of wrongdoers."
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