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Data loss from MoD costs taxpayers thousands

Simon Quicke

Despite the high profile loss of the data discs containing millions of consumer records by HMRC the public sector continues to mislay sensitive information on unencrypted hardware.

In response to a request for disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act from Lewis PR the Ministry of Defence revealed it had lost 340 laptops in the last couple of years with more than half of those being unencrypted.

The MoD didn't just lose laptops with DVDs, discs and 215 memory sticks also going missing costing taxpayers money and putting sensitive data potentially out into the open.

But the MoD was not alone and of the 11 departments questioned reported the loss of 518 laptops, 131 BlackBerrys/iPhones, 104 mobile devices and 932 memory devices. All told the lost equipment represented an estimated loss to the taxpayer of £777,854.29.

Stephen Howes, CEO of security vendor GrIDSure, said that it was a major concern that data was being lost and the message about encryption was not getting through.

 "It is a major concern that so many items containing sensitive data were lost, but the lack of encryption on such a high number of these devices is simply inexcusable," he said.


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