Labour MP asks Treasury about missing laptops, Blackberrys

Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, has asked questions about lost or stolen computers, mobiles, Blackberrys and other IT equipment to the Treasury and other government departments.

Thomas asked the Secretary of State for International Development just how many pieces of kit went missing or stolen from 2010 to now. In total 42 laptops went missing, 18 phones, nine Blackberrys, a 15 inch monitor and nine memory sticks, Conservative Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, admitted.

Thomas put the same question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sajid Javid, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, replied that since 2010, 28 Laptops have been stolen or gone missing, with just 11 of those having been recovered.

38 Blackberrys disappeared from the Treasury with just four of those recovered, while 74 other pieces of IT equipment were reported stolen or lost, with just three of that unnamed equipment having been recovered to date.

Javid assured Thomas that despite the missing equipment, all laptops were encrypted and “not accessible without a security token and more than one password,” and that the BlackBerrys were password protected too.

“No tokens or passwords were left with these items, and so there was no data loss,” Javid said. “Steps were taken as soon as the theft of these electronic items were reported, to ensure that they provided no means of access to any of the Department’s IT systems”.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was also asked, however, Conservative MP Michael Penning advised Thomas to approach the independent Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Parades Commission for Norther Ireland directly.