Government urged to overhaul the way it handles public data

The government has been urged to think of a way to overhaul the way it currently handles public information in the backdrop of a string of damaging data loss cases in recent times. There is neither the leadership nor the framework for properly safeguarding the public’s personal data, a review conducted by Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, and the director of the Wellcome Trust, Mark Walport, has found.

The Data Sharing Review has found that measures were required for restoring public trust in the manner in which Whitehall deal with information, especially in the wake of some ‘high profile’ data breaches like HM Revenue & Customs leading to loss of nearly 25 million people’s important personal data. In another incident, the Ministry of Defence lost more than 600,000 crucial details.

The review has called for new laws so that data sharing guidance for frontline staff is strengthened and simplified. Two critical areas regarding data protection and sharing that need to be looked into, according to the review report are a clear code of practice on how important data is handled, and more transparency in the process of data handling.

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