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IT News Thread, Wigan loses unencrypted data on 43,000 children in Other News; The Information Commissioner's Office has said Wigan Council breached data-protection law by allowing unencrypted data on school pupils to be ...
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    Wigan loses unencrypted data on 43,000 children

    The Information Commissioner's Office has said Wigan Council breached data-protection law by allowing unencrypted data on school pupils to be downloaded to a laptop.

    The laptop was then stolen, holding personal data on most children and young people in Wigan's schools: about 43,000 pupils.

    The computer had been stored in a locked office, but not encrypted, according to the ICO. The person who downloaded the data to the laptop was breaching council policy, but there was no block on them doing so.

    Joyce Redfearn, chief executive of Wigan Council, has signed an undertaking stating that the council will encrypt data on portable devices in future. Staff will be trained and made aware of the council's policy for storing and using personal data, and the council will ensure staff stick to that policy.

    "I strongly advise organisations to avoid instances where employees can download large volumes of personal information," said Sally-Anne Poole, the ICO's head of enforcement.

    "This incident could have been averted if the data was simply accessed from the main council computer network. Storing large volumes of personal information on portable devices is unnecessarily risky," she added.
    Wigan loses unencrypted data on 43,000 children - ZDNet.co.uk

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    The big question is how detailed was the data. If it was just a class list is that a big deal? Personally, I don't see what harm that could do. Address details would be different.

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    I doubt if they had class lists for 43k pupils somehow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I doubt if they had class lists for 43k pupils somehow.
    Pupil/teacher ratios for Wigan reaches a new height.

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    *adds to his DP Training Scrapbook*

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    Physical security needs to be increased in these places too by the sounds of it.
    There is no excuse for why the data was put on a laptop in the first place, ludicrous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I doubt if they had class lists for 43k pupils somehow.
    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I would like to try and understand is at what point data becomes sensitive. As I said, I don't think class lists are a big problem or test results. Whereas, address details would be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I would like to try and understand is at what point data becomes sensitive. As I said, I don't think class lists are a big problem or test results. Whereas, address details would be.
    Beta have gone to great lengths classifying data types into different degrees of sensitivity - theres some info here if you are interested:
    Becta Schools - Leadership and management - Data management - Data handling security guidance for schools

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    Perhaps I'll be corrected, but have they? Last time I looked there was lots and lots of boiler-plate security verbiage, but not very much relating that to eduction i.e. I found just one table mapping school data to (protection) category.

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    should have said that there is information on howto classify data sensitivity based on risk

    http://schools.becta.org.uk/upload-d...n_handling.odt

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