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29 January 2008

Barrett slams Ministers over lost data

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today hit out at the Government about the number of laptops lost by Government departments, and called for the reckless handling of personal data to be made a crime.

Speaking in the Commons Chamber during Justice Questions, Mr Barrett criticised the Ministry of Defence for losing over 500 laptops since 1998 and urged Justice Minister Michael Wills to look again at Liberal Democrat proposals to make it an offence for Government bodies to intentionally or recklessly disclose data. The Edinburgh West MP also called for the introduction of spot checks on Government departments to make sure data was being handled properly.

The Minister conceded that more serious penalties would now have to be considered for those who misuse personal data, and pledged to he discuss the matter with the Information Commissioner.

Mr Barrett said:

“It is now clear that the Government’s mishandling of personal data is not just a one-off incident. Departments are proving remarkably cavalier in the way they handle important information.

“The Liberal Democrats proposed amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill that would criminalise the reckless handling of personal data by officials, but they were rejected out of hand by the government.

“It’s time for the government to get its act together and ensure that personal data on Government computers is properly safeguarded.

“How can a Government with such a dismal record on this issue have the nerve to demand that we trust it to look after sensitive personal information on an ID card database?”

 

Notes

John Barrett was speaking during Question to the Secretary of State for Justice earlier today.

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.