Data loss: it’s an attitude

I have just read on the BBC news website that another UK state body has lost media containing sensitive data.

It's not hard to log this transaction

It's not hard to log this transaction

In this case it is the Royal Air Force.

I don’t understand this. In all the cases of data loss in the public sector that have hit the news in recent years, not one (to my knowledge) has involved hacking. All of them have involved the misplacement of a physical medium.

The tracking of the transport of physical objects is nothing new. FedEx have been doing it since 1973 and DHL since 1969. In fact, registered post has been in existence since the 19th century. So the notion of registering an object, giving it a unique id and logging where it is and who has it at every stage of its journey is around 150 years old!

So why is it that the Victorian postal system was able to do something that government agencies are not able to do in the 21st century?


What’s wrong is that people treat CDs and USB sticks like any other piece of office stationery. And people will continue to have this attitude until those at the top down push down a new attitude: the same attitude that companies such as DHL and FedEx have towards the packages which are entrusted to them.

Proven tracking processes are in existence, modern technologies makeĀ  tracking simpler.

I suspect there could even be a generic business model to which all government agencies could adhere, which should cut down the time required to put the model in place across all agencies.

It just takes the will at government level to get it right.

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