~ less than one per cent of ministers accept offer of a free laptop lock ~
Despite a deluge of data loss stories in the news recently, Government ministers are failing to recognise the importance of physical laptop security. Just eight out of 150 MPs have said ‘yes’ to a free laptop lock from Kensington, the inventor of the industry standard Kensington security slot and world’s number one laptop lock seller. This is after it was revealed in March this year that 1052 governmental laptops have been lost in recent years.
Kensington offered 50 MPs from each of the three main parties a MicroSaver® DS Notebook Lock. Using such a lock protects laptops and computers from opportunistic theft, and could also help to reassure the public that their personal details are safe, no matter where they are being held.
But uptake was poor, and that’s despite Gordon Brown’s new ‘zero tolerance’ policy for data loss.
Party response table
Labour MPs responding: 3
Liberal Democrat MPs responding: 3
Conservative MPs responding: 2
“Loss of public data is not a new issue but it seems that government ministers are ambivalent to the threat,” said Stephen Hoare, Head of Product Marketing at Kensington Europe. “Despite a number of high-profile data theft cases and a stern talking to by the Prime Minister, Government officials are continuing to ignore basic security guidelines when they should be doing their utmost to ensure the safety of sensitive information.”
“A laptop lock is the first line of defence when it comes to protecting data held on a laptop,” said Hoare. “Organisations willingly invest millions in network security, yet individuals are disregarding the danger of physical theft. This is tantamount to investing in a sophisticated home alarm system but forgetting to lock the front door.”
“It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money and further thought needs to be given to simple solutions that can make a big difference,” said Hoare. “Our offer of a free lock had genuinely good intentions – we’re keen to ensure that data is protected from loss with the public’s best interests in mind.”
Hoare continued: “MPs are not the only ones susceptible to losing their laptops. Think what the cost to a student could be if they lost their dissertation, to a business leader who lost next years forecast or a family that lost all their irreplaceable photos.” A recent study released by Dell showed that 900 laptops are left behind at Heathrow each week. Kensington’s own study showed that 90 per cent of organisations experience laptop theft and FBI states that 1 in 10 laptops are stolen.
Overview of recent data breaches:
1. June 2008: Secretary for local government Hazel Blears had computer stolen from her constituency offices
2. January 2008: Navy laptop containing the personal details of 600,000 people stolen. Defence Secretary Des Browne has launched an official inquiry into military security after the loss of a Royal Navy laptop containing the personal details of 600,000 people.
3. October 2007: HMRC laptop containing details of customers at banking institutions stolen form boot of car.
4. March 2000: MI5 laptop notebook containing sensitive government information left at Paddington train station
5. The Ministry of Defence has had 503 laptops stolen since 1998, including 68 in 2007. It has lost 23 PCs during the same time
6. The Department of Health has lost 151 laptops since 2001-02, including 15 in 2007
7. The Ministry of Justice has had 136 laptops stolen, eight lost and another 26 described as "missing" since 2001, including 40 in 2007
8. The Department of Children, Schools and Families has had 84 laptops and four desktop computers reported lost since 2001/2
9. HM Revenue and Customs had 45 laptops reported stolen in 2007, including 16 in a break-in at an office, costing £43,000
10. The Department for International Development has lost three and had 37 stolen since 2001, at a cost of £39,743
11. The Department of Communities and Local Government has lost 28 laptops since 2002/3, including eight in 2007/8. It has also lost five desktop PCs
12. The Department of the Environment had 18 laptops lost or stolen in 2007
13. The Treasury has had six laptops stolen in 2007
14. The Northern Ireland Office has had five laptops stolen since 2001, including two last year
15. The Office of the Leader of the House has reported one laptop stolen since June last year
(Source: various media sources, including The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/04/2?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront)
MPs were offered a Kensington MicroSaver® DS Notebook Lock. Product code: 64343. Learn more at www.microsaver.info
Kensington is the world’s number one supplier of laptop locks, and the creator of the ‘K’ slot, which is present in 99% of computers shipped today. For more information, visit www.kensington.com.