Prime Minister criticised over data loss comment

Criticism has been made of the Prime Minister's comment that data loss is inevitable.

 

Gordon Brown admitted that can never guarantee the security of sensitive data following the loss of a memory stick that contained user names and passwords for a government computer system.

 

The Prime Minister told ITN during his visit to the Gulf: “I think it's important to recognise that we can't promise that every single item of information will always be safe, because mistakes are made by human beings.”

 

In response, Dr Steve Moyle, founder and CTO of Secerno, said: “This would be a normal reaction normally, but it is a u-turn on what was said earlier this year by the home secretary who was talking about the ‘unbreakable ID database', yet nine months later the Prime Minister is saying that they can't guarantee security.

 

“The government doesn't understand what data they have and how it is used adequately. Their excuse is that because they are using people there will be a problem. They are not trying to use the best technology out there and it looks like Gordon Brown has put the blame on one person who works for the company with the outsourcing contract.

 

“However they have accepting a partnership arrangement and it should be up to the government to work with these people to protect citizen's data. No one says it is easy, but the system was not protective enough.”

 

Meanwhile Gary Clark, VP EMEA at SafeNet, said: “It goes without saying that it's been a catastrophic year for data loss arising from misplaced hard drives and stolen portable devices. Over the past twelve months, consumers have been left vulnerable because of the lackadaisical approach to protecting data.

“When we hand over confidential information to organisations in either the public or private sector, we should be able to trust that they are using stringent practices to secure personal data. Any organisations that are reckless with these details should suffer the consequences.

“My fear is that with a recession looming, levels of crime – particularly cases of fraud and identity theft - will rise. With criminals ready to pounce on any opportunity for personal gain, it's more important than ever to make sure sensitive information is not publicly exposed and cannot be used by anyone outside of the organisation to which it belongs.

“But what can be done? We need to ensure organisations have the necessary safeguards in place to protect the information they hold. These include identifying process weaknesses, adopting robust security standards and, most importantly, encrypting all sensitive data.”

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