Advocate of national ID scheme tells Scotland Yard he couldn't even secure his own phone messages

Opinion

Advocate of national ID scheme tells Scotland Yard he couldn't even secure his own phone messages

A new study shows that civil servants, cabinet members and even the prime minister behind the National ID card scheme couldn't create passwords for their mobile phones.

Britain's political leaders are unashamedly lax about security, according to a new study for IT in Context.

Even the previous prime minister couldn't be bothered to change the default on his password, according to a security audit carried out on our behalf by The News of the World.

The survey also uncovered massive double standards in government, with ministers happy to impose Orwellian style 24 hour surveillance of civilians, then demanding prosecutions for anyone who breaches security windows that they left open in the first place.

In the study The News of the World attempted to gain access to communications systems trusted to cabinet ministers, prime and senior civil servants. The majority of our trusted officials failed in their public duty to protect private information, the exercise found. Researchers at the News of the World, acting on our behalf, exposed information that could put Britain's elected officials and the nation's interests at risk. Their ignorance could have left the Britain at risk of hacking by terrorists, blackmailers and criminals.

Some ministers brazenly admitted that they didn't bother to change their passwords from the publicly known manufacturer's default. Even ex-PM Gordon Brown unashamedly admitted a basic error - despite being the chief advocate of a highly sensitive national ID card scheme.

"If you can't secure your own messages, what on earth are you doing setting up an omnipotent database full of highly sensitive information?" asked one voter.

Meanwhile, the police have given their stock answer to illegal intrusions. "I reported the break in to the police," said one game show host, who was frequently seen at Number 10, "but the desk seargent just said 'sorry, there's not really much we can do about it'."

This was first published in January 2011

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