St Albans Council encrypts laptops after loss of voters’ details

St Albans City and District Council has promised to encrypt all laptops, after the loss of four computers containing the data of over 14,000 voters.

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St Albans City and District Council has promised to encrypt all laptops, after the loss of four computers containing the data of over 14,000 voters.

The laptops were stolen last November, and contained unencrypted information. Data included the names, addresses, dates of birth, signatures, postal vote forms and statements used to confirm the identity of voters.

One of the laptops had been left unsecured on a desk. At the time, the council said it would inform all people affected and work with is IT services provider, Northgate Information Solutions, to investigate the incident.

Daniel Goodwin, chief executive at the council, has signed an undertaking with the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure staff and contractors are fully aware of security procedures. Adequate checks will also be carried out on contractors’ staff. All of the council’s laptops and portable devices will be encrypted.

“When organisations store large volumes of personal details on portable computers, encryption is essential,” said Sally-Anne Poole, head of enforcement & investigations at the ICO.

"They must ensure staff and contractors are trained to handle personal information securely to avoid the risk of information falling into the wrong hands.”

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