Do as I say, not as I do

There are plenty of serious commentaries on the weird, and increasingly alarming, world of data security after the events of the past few days. This is not one of them.

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson\’s excellent blog has been following the detail of the story, and provides (or at least does at the time of writing) a link to a PDF file of a sheaf of papers, including print copies of the relevant NAO-HMRC emails (with names blanked out), and an exchange of \’letters of record\’ between Dave Hartnett, the Acting Chairman of HMRC, and Caroline Mawhood, the Deputy Auditor General of the NAO. Mrs Mawhood\’s letterhead includes, for all to see, her email address, and mobile, land-line and fax numbers.

I\’m no expert, but this doesn\’t sound like data protection \’best practice\’ to me. It\’s no excuse for the cock-up at HMRC, but it does perhaps show how easy it is to slip up when you\’re in a hurry.

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