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Manchester Police lose Anti-Terror Secrets

The Daily Star reports that Manchester Police lost an Unencrypted & not Password-protected USB memory stick containing top secret anti-terror documents in the street outside their own Police Station.

The memory stick contained a "Manual on Guidance of Keeping the Peace", more than 2,000 pages of highly-sensitive and confidential information, with sections on countering the threat of terrorism including strategies for acid and petrol bomb attacks, blast control training, the use of batons and shields, the use and understanding of firearms as well as water cannons and CS gas. 

The memory stick was clearly emblazoned with the Greater Manchester Police badge and the initials GMP POTU, standing for Greater ­Manchester Police Public Order Training Unit.

Since there was also personal data on the drive about individual Police Officers, I hope the Information Commissioner make it his business to remonstrate with them.

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Comments: (1)

Lachlan Gunn
Lachlan Gunn - BenAlpin Ltd - Perth 07 September, 2010, 09:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

When I last wore uniform (a couple of decades ago now) there were very strict procedures for the control of classified documents and publications.  They were signed in and signed out in a controlled register, amendments/additions etc were recorded by signature, and at the end of their life they were shredded and destroyed by fire, with two people present and accountable.  I am not aware how these rules and procedures have been amended to cover digital data, but my feeling is that they will have been watered down.  It must be a nightmare to effectively control sensitive and secret information these days!

I find it astounding that memory sticks with such data on them (particularly ones with logos on them) are not encrypted.  Okay so this one was lost, but one also wonders what controls there are in place to stop someone taking the stick home and downloading the data.............that way there would be not even be knowledge of a security breach.

With regard to data privacy concerns, I also touched on these in my recent blog on biometrics at ATMs.  When government departments carelessly lose private data, even if the Information Commissioner does decide to remonstrate, I wonder what punitive or corrective action he is actually able to take to address such breaches and to make the public Bodies concerned tighten up their controls?

Keith Appleyard

Keith Appleyard

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