Dial M for Missing
Byline: Hamish Macdonell
AT least one BlackBerry smartphone packed with sensitive information is lost every fortnight by Scottish civil servants, according to new figures.
Forty-four Government BlackBerrys, many with contact details of senior ministers, have been lost, stolen or left in pubs or trains in the past 21 months.
Ministers stressed last night they took security very seriously and that all smartphones and portable laptops were encrypted to stop them being hacked.
But this assurance appeared to be undermined by figures which showed that, as well as the 44 BlackBerrys lost, civil servants also mislaid five laptops, five ordinary mobile phones, a full desk-top computer and a USB device.
Twenty security-cleared ID passes also went missing between January 2010 and October 2011, as well as a camera and a printer.
The cost to the taxpayer of the equipment is understood to be tens of thousands of pounds, but the potential price in lost information, including the phone numbers of senior ministers, is likely to be more damaging.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government stressed that all its smartphones and laptops were fitted with security devices designed to prevent them being hacked. …