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Lost Memory Stick Anyone? June 12, 2013

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit.
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Just looking through the back book of articles that pass my desk and this one caught my eye. A Police Officer of the Great Manchester Police (GMP) had a memory stick stolen from their home with the details of members of the public who had provided witness statements against alledged drug dealers. The device was unencrypted. The full story can be read here.

The Police Force was obliged to pay a fine of £150,000 at the bequest of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which was reduced to £120,000 due to a discount for early settlement. The Officer in question was ‘internally disciplined’. Some observations.

The whole situation is farcial. Could someone explain to me why a Police Officer was walking around with a memory stick with witnesses’ contact details on? You try walking out of a Bank with the client list on a memory stick and see how far you get.

Second, I love these intra-governmental fines. The GMP, funded by the tax-payer, is fined by another publically funded body, the ICO. No real sanction against the GMP is brought to bear; £120K is shuffled from one government bank account to another but so what? In effect, the sanction is against the public as the Police can no longer afford the Police overtime for drug busts, etc.

Third, the Officer in question was ‘internally disciplined’. What does this mean? Did they receive a large police truncheon in the rear? No, I doubt it. It was probably a Senior Officer whagging a finger at the Officer concerned and saying ‘Don’t do it again, there’s a good boy’.

At best, it’s inexcusable but no doubt life in the force will continue unabashed.


1. ITauditSecurity - June 19, 2013

May the unencrypted force be with us!

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