Data Loss Investigation reveals Gloucestershire Police has no idea how or when it lost data on Laptops and USB Sticks

An investigation by a local newspaper in Gloucestershire has exposed numerous cases of data loss in the last 3 years involving the Gloucestershire Police Force. Taking advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, where government held information is freely available upon request, the Echo revealed losses of tapes containing 999 recordings, Laptops and USB sticks.

All losses are recorded in the forces Information Security Register, however, details of where the data was lost, what data was lost and how it was lost in the first place is not documented!

Between October 2009 and September 2010, two separate tapes containing 999 calls were lost, along with a USB Stick containing police force data. The previous year it is recorded that two laptops were misplaced, but a spokeswoman on behalf of Gloucestershire Police insists the devices will have been encrypted. Alexa Collicott states: “We take our responsibility to protect personal data very seriously and robust safeguards are in place for storing and transferring all information held by the constabulary. No police operations have been compromised by the items lost over this period. Police officers and staff are expected to take due care with all police property to ensure that it is handled and maintained in accordance with the law and police policy.”

With solutions such as Remote Data Deletion available to the market, Encryption alone should not be the only method of securing a Laptop. By implementing a remote data deletion solution, were a user can log into a web portal and put into process the removal of all data off a laptop, as well as ensuring data is securely backed up, these incidents need not be cause for continual alarm.

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