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News

Parliament to criminalise data loss

PGP (GB) : 03 January, 2008  (Technical Article)
PGP comments on the UK parliamentary Justice Committee proposals to criminalise negligent loss of data.
A report from the Select Committee on Justice has recommended that both public and private bodies should be forced to report data breaches to the Government's watchdog, effectively turning reckless data loss into a criminal offence.

Jamie Cowper, Director of Marketing EMEA at data protection expert PGP Corporation, has made the following comments:

"Security experts have for some time been highlighting the fact that our current data protection laws are simply not fit for purpose, but it's taken the recent events at HMRC to finally wake people up to reality. A laissez-faire approach to data security seems to be endemic throughout the UK public and private sectors, so maybe tough action is what's needed to rectify this dangerous attitude.

However, while it's clear that the Government is moving closer and closer to implementing US-style data breach notification laws in the UK, making data loss a criminal offence is maybe a step too far.

For a start, who's going to be liable here? How do you define the role of 'Data Controller', and what does this mean for much-heralded government database projects such as ID Cards and the NHS spine.

Before we go for the nuclear option, perhaps we should first look at how current security regimes can be tightened up with, for instance, stricter enterprise data policies. We should also test the power of simply naming and shaming organisations as a deterrent to lax attitudes to data protection, as it's certainly worked in the US."
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