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Doctors targetted in data protection legislation.

Lumension Security : 15 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
Patient records subject to being compromised by theft of Doctor's laptops could lead to heavy fines under proposed amendments to data protection laws.
According to media reports doctors could be fined up to £5,000 if their laptops are stolen, under steps to criminalise this act under data protection laws.

Alan Bentley, Regional VP of Lumension EMEA (formerly PatchLink) comments:

'Cases of forgotten or stolen laptops are becoming more and more common, with high profile incidents continuing to surface. While the proposal to fine those responsible for lost laptops is certainly a step in the right direction, it is unlikely to irradiate the problem. This issue needs to be tackled at the source, rather than relying on doctors to guard their laptops.

"Data protection needs to start within the surgery. Meaning, patient records that are not protected in line with data protection laws should simply not be allowed to be transferred onto mobile devices. Policies can be put in place to monitor and control the flow of data, ensuring that only approved data is taken out of the doctor's surgery and that once data is released it is encrypted to ensure it can not be opened by an unapproved external source.

"The fact that the Information Commissioner is looking to tackle this issue, will no doubt make doctors' more careful with their laptops. However, it is unlikely to restore public confidence that their private details will be safe. With identity theft at an all time high, it is essential that this issue is addressed head on. It is only by taking a proactive approach to data protection that data held on mobile devices and laptops will be protected from the unexpected."

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