Almost 600 laptops and more than 400 mobile phones have been lost or stolen from UK government departments over the last decade, newly published data reveal.
The figures, uncovered by Scottish National Party MP Mike Weir, showed the Labour government had lost £1.33m worth of property since it came into power.
Weir said the statistics were a damning indictment of the government’s security credentials.
“These figures reveal a shocking lack of security across UK government departments. To lose one laptop might be careless, but to lose 600 is simply unbelievable,” he said.
“It is not just the scale or cost of the losses that is disturbing, but also, in terms of IT equipment, there are serious questions about the security of the information they contain,” he added.
Weir lobbied for a top level review of how government assets and data are handled: “This should also sound the death knell of the government’s ill fated ID card scheme. If security it this lax why on earth should anyone trust them with yet more information,” he said.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) responded to the questioning on lost or stolen property by saying: “Other than the cases already in the public domain, as a result of the recent data loss, the information requested is not held centrally and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.”
In response to this comment by the MoD Weir said: “What is particularly worrying is the attitude of the MoD, for example, it cannot answer the question as to whether confidential or personal information has been compromised since “the information is not held centrally.”
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