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Data Loss

Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to prevent accidental loss of data sticks, CD-roms and documents by public officials. [HL6297]

I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement placed in the House of Commons regarding the release of the data handling report (DHR) published on 25 June 2008 (Official Report, col. 26WS). The report puts in place rules that departments must follow to improve data-handling arrangements across government. We are working with departments to ensure action is taken to protect data whether they are held on electronic media or on paper. This includes clear rules on the encryption, minimisation and secure disposal of data and media.

The report also puts in place clear accountability within departments, scrutiny of arrangements and, importantly, a process of cultural change to ensure that government values and handles personal data appropriately. Training and education of officials is a crucial part of this process. A number of departments have already trained their staff on data security in line with DHR requirements and the Cabinet Office will shortly begin rolling out an e-learning package available for all departments to use to train their staff.