Data Loss: Foreign Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is the last government department to admit to a series of blunders resulting in data loss.

The FCO lost five five sets of data over the past financial year, including:

In May 2007 a contractor allowed information relating to about 50 individuals to be made public due to unauthorized disclosure.

In November 2007 over 50,000 visa applications were accidentally put on view to those visiting an FCO  web site.

Following the November indecent the ICO investigated the FCO and found the department to be  in breach of the Data Protection Act, and required the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to sign a formal undertaking to comply with the DPA.

The agreement the FCO signed compels it to comply with certain directives. The undertaking, is one step below enforcement action, which is covered by Section 40 of the DPA.

There are numerous examples of data loss within the government, virtually all of which could be prevented by encryption.

The FCO examples appear to be more fundamental IT security issues rather than the typical data loss issues.


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