MP taken to task over Hertfordshire data loss

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for home affairs, has refused to comment on the recent data loss incident involving St Albans District Council, which is currently controlled by his party.

After it emerged last week that seven laptops containing the personal details of over 14,000 local voters had been stolen, there were serious concerns that the data could be used for criminal activity if it found its way into the wrong hands.

Mr Huhne was recently interviewed in the Times. He was also asked to respond to the recent data scandal surrounding the Hatfield-based T-Mobile, which had allegedly been involved in selling customer details to rivals in a breach of privacy and competition laws.

Huhne condemned the actions of a former T-Mobile employee and asserted his belief that this incident was a symptom of a wider issue within large corporations and that it highlighted the complacency with which big business often treat the protection of the personal data.

He also called for tougher legislation which would punish with greater severity those who did not take data security seriously.

Since Huhne was quick to speak out about one incident of data loss in the region, local residents in St Albans assumed that he would also have something to say about the laptop thefts from within a council under his party’s control.

On contacting the Liberal Democrats central office, a local paper was informed by a spokesperson that Huhne would not be making any statement regarding the loss of voter information from council offices. It was made clear that the Liberal Democrats considered there to be little similarity between the T-Mobile incident and poor security measures within St Albans council.

According to the St Albans & Harpenden Review, the party spokesperson did not seem to fully understand the situation, failing to recognise the need for comment.

Local residents are still seeking answers and whilst local council members were quick to reassure voters that there was minimal chance of their data being used fraudulently, acknowledgement of the severity of this case from those higher up in the Liberal Democrats is yet to become evident.

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