Report questions government involvement in fight for data security

Experts have analysed how the government’s role in the protection of private data has changed and whether or not it should increase or reduce the level of its involvement in the prevention of data loss and subsequent censure.

74 per cent of UK staff believe that the government should be responsible for increasing general levels of data security around the country, according to a survey authored by Sourcefire and Dynamic Markets.

Since the coalition government was formed, there have been several high profile figures addressing the problem of data protection head-on, with both Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones discussing the most appropriate approach to handling public access to personal information whilst simultaneously increasing levels of security across the board.

Specialists working in IT and data security are unconvinced by the government’s current efforts, with 60 per cent expressing their dissatisfaction with the data protection projects currently in progress. 36 per cent of professionals believe that the government is using such schemes as pure publicity, with very little tangible progress made as a result.

Opinions on the matter are divided, with many believing that the policing of the internet is an unrealistic goal whilst others appear to be expecting at least some level of government intervention and protection.

Lawyer Jonathan Armstrong said that most members of the public are being misled by firms claiming to protect private information and payment details. He believes that in most cases these promises are not kept and reaffirms that when data loss or theft exposes a business, it can be extremely damaging.

Mr Armstrong believes that there is already adequate legislation in the Data Protection Act to mandate adequate data protection, but argues that there are currently few who are or appear to be willing to pursue and to police this problematic area.

Sourcefire’s Dominic Storey said that a balance between regulation and operative freedom had to be struck in order to free businesses and organisations to carry out their core activities without becoming overly entangled in administration and red tape. It would seem that a back to basics approach may be required in the short to medium term.

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