Search

Fears over possible data leak after council lose £29k of equipment

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 05 June 2014

Concerns have been raised over the safety of data on the software that was lost

Concerns have been raised over the safety of data on the software that was lost

Archant

Nearly 50 town hall laptops and phones have been lost or stolen in the last three years – racking up a £29,000 bill and sparking fresh concerns over data protection.

New figures obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveal that during last year alone, Islington Council misplaced 28 computers, tablets and mobiles.

The council insist all of the technology lost or stolen was “safely encrypted”.

But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that, while there was a “greatly reduced risk” the data could be decoded, it would look to investigate any loss of equipment containing sensitive information as it wouldn’t be completely impenetrable in the hands of a smart hacker.

Cllr Caroline Russell, the sole opposition at the council, described the news as “worrying”.

The Green party councillor for Highbury East, said: “People are human, and losing a laptop is something we know can happen. But 28 this year does seem high and losses of laptops can have worrying implications for protection of data.

“The council needs to be looking at what support it can offer to reduce these types of losses and ensure that when they do happen the implications for data protection are minimised.”

Shocked

Andy Silvester, campaign manager for the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Local residents, who have paid for these items with their council taxes, will be shocked at the remarkable number that have gone missing.

“You could imagine one or two being lost or being stolen, but losing 28 laptops in one year is astounding. It’s a very big bill for taxpayers to be footing.”

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance and resources, said: “We issue advice to staff to reduce the likelihood of equipment being lost or stolen and treat all losses seriously, reporting thefts to the police.

“While all council-issued laptops and BlackBerrys are securely encrypted, our priority is rapidly to remove any lost or stolen items from the network and get any lost mobile phones blocked straight away.

“Where a replacement is necessary, we may purchase new stock or replace the lost item with a spare device.”

The revelations follow two data leaks in 2012, for which the council was fined a total of £110,000 by the ICO.

The first saw the council send details of 50 residents on the Andover Estate in Holloway to thugs they had been complaining about, leaving a number of people having to be rehoused.

The council insists that measures and rigorous checks are now in place to prevent any similar breaches in future.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 09:00

Think you’re an expert on Islington’s boozers? Well, pub fanatic Johnny Homer knows more. He’s written a book about the history of our most interesting watering holes.

Fri, 18:54

An army of 51 headteachers from schools across Islington have slammed funding cuts to education on an afternoon in which families came in their droves to the borough’s parks for the nationwide ‘big assembly’.

Fri, 16:56

It was the most anticipated Caledonian Road shop opening in a generation.

Fri, 12:49

A London Metropolitan University student has been jailed for 15 years for planting a home-made bomb on a busy Tube train.

Fri, 07:48

A Catholic priest who repeatedly raped and assaulted boys is facing jail.

Fri, 07:00

Scars of the past have yet to heal for neighbours of a controversial former Holloway Road nightclub. After seeing off the People’s Club for good last year, they are now protesting after Islington Council received a new application for a lesbian social club in the same premises.

Thu, 16:10

The results are in after Islington Greens and Tufnell Park Parents unleashed “citizen science” to measure air pollution levels across the borough.

Thu, 15:58

The courtyard at Islington Police Station currently doubles as a showroom for stolen mopeds.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now