Lost Data Official Never Saw Security Rulebook

By Murphy, Joe | The Evening Standard (London, England), November 26, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Lost Data Official Never Saw Security Rulebook


Murphy, Joe, The Evening Standard (London, England)


THE junior official being blamed by the Government for the lost discs fiasco was never shown the Whitehall rulebook on data security, the Evening Standard can reveal today.

It is more evidence that the responsibility for the scandal goes much higher up the management ladder than ministers claim.

Only last Wednesday, Gordon Brown claimed in the Commons that all government departments were made to follow guidelines in the "Manual Of Protective Security", such as a requirement to encrypt discs in transit.

The Prime Minister told MPs: "There is absolutely no doubt that that is the procedure; it just was not followed, and that is what the investigation has got to look at." However, the PCSU union representing the unnamed 23-year-old official says he never saw a copy of the manual.

That suggests either a systemic failure to explain the rules to juniors at Customs & Revenue or that they were not regarded as important.

It now looks unlikely that the junior will be sacked or punished, which will fuel suspicions that he has been made a scapegoat for a deeper failure.

Chancellor Alistair Darling today faced pressure to make a fresh Commons statement on what caused the loss of two discs containing details of children and bank accounts belonging to 7.2 million families.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "We are demanding that Alistair

Darling comes back to the House because we don't know if we have been told the truth.

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