The bad news just keeps on coming in the UK where that was another big data loss, this time a lost thumb drive:
The British government is to data protection as Hurricane Katrina was to New Orleans property values. In the past we have covered the loss of data, including bank details, for 25 million people, and government intelligence documents seem to repeatedly get left on trains or in bars. Now, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced that a memory stick containing information on thousands of individuals in the criminal justice system has also gone walkabout.
I’d be lying if I said the UK has a good record when it comes to government IT projects. Each time a minister gets a bright idea about using technology to help streamline bureaucracy, the end result is a multibillion-pound transfer of wealth from taxpayers to management consultants, who then spend years overspending, overpromising, and under-delivering.
What’s interesting about this is that the action that preceded the loss, the copying of the information to the thumb drive, was not allowed under the policies that governed the data’s use. But as one would expect, policies are often ignored for expediency.
Policies without access control are useless for preventing data loss.