Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blears breaches Official Secrets Act?

Apparently, Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, has admitted that a computer has been stolen from her constituency office, and also admitted that it contained Government documents. These were not, according to Ben Brogan secret or top secret documents, but they were classified documents none the less.

The question, as Brogan raises, is that this may mean that Blears might have asked her private office to send documents to her constituency office which would be in breach of common sense procedures and potentially of the Official Secrets Act which states if a person
"fails to take such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the document or article as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take".
However, the wider issue that Brogan quite rightly raises, and links in neatly to David Davis' campaign about the surveillance state and the security of our information is that this is the third apparent security lapse in a week (they say things come in groups of three).

The question one should surely ask themselves is, if the Government genuinely wishes to claim that our surveillance is necessary to fight terrorism and crime; and at the same times claims that it will secure our identity with the ID cards database; shouldn't its own ministers not be playing loose and fast with state secrets by sending them, in email - ergo plain text across the Internet, to themselves at an insecure location?


dreamingspire said...

Tonight is being said that someone in her office sent material that should not have been sent.
Since there are many companies using secure networking to ensure that only material permitted to be sent gets sent, why is govt nerworking being run by such neanderthals?

Anonymous said...

Its top civil servant Peter Housden said "no damage had been done" as the documents were not secret.

"And in any event the computer was password protected"

The government's grasp of Information Security is stunningly awful.

Password protect all you like. If it's not encrypted I'll still be reading all your docs within a few days if not minutes.

Dave said...

More on this at the Register

Apparently it wasn't a laptop but a desktop. But that's OK because it was password protected

Anonymous said...

Why, whenever I see that smug simpering gob do I feel an overpowering urge to smack it?

Oh how appropriate - word verification....qneee