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Second major loss of personal data demands new transfer procedures

11 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has called for new procedures to protect peoples' personal information when transferring data between government Agencies and Departments following the loss of the personal details of 6,000 people by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"This is the second major loss of personal details by a British government department or agency. It is clear that present procedures are neither efficient nor secure. Apologies following these failures do nothing to allay the fears of people whose personal details could be in the hands of criminal elements while there is little or nothing that the individual can do to protect themselves from the possibility that the information could be used for illegal purposes.

"The DVA must explain why such personal details were not transferred through secure direct transfer or by electronic transfer? It shouldn't take a review of procedures for those entrusted with citizens personal details to realise that even elementary IT knowledge dictates that discs containing such data should always be encrypted.

"It is obvious that 'Parcelforce Worldwide' is not a secure form of transfer. If it is not considered appropriate to transfer this data electronically then all Agencies - government or private - transferring such data should be required to use a secure, direct courier service to ensure that there is no recurrence of these episodes." ENDS

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