Ministry of Justice loses 164 Blackberrys in a year

Over the past year, the Ministry of Justice has had 164 Blackberry devices lost or stolen.

Harrow West Labour MP Gareth Thomas asked the Secretary of State for Justice how many computers, mobiles, Blackberrys, and other pieces of IT equipment were lost and stolen from the department between the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 periods – and if he will make a statement.

Helen Grant, Conservative, of Maidstone and The Weald, replied by saying all laptops and Blackberrys are encrypted and protected with a complex password, and any that are registered as lost or stolen are blocked remotely, “making it impossible for them to be used”.

13 PCs or laptops were lost or stolen between 2012 and now, while 57 mobile phones also went missing.

164 pieces of of IT equipment – such as RSA/RAS secure ID tokens, Becrypt encryption tokens and removable media – were lost between 2012 and now.

Grant defended the losses by saying the Ministry adopts government security policy framework requirements to protect its assets, securely.

“Clear processes are in place for notification of any loss, including reporting it to the police,” Grant said. “The compliance of staff with policy and guidance is a line management responsibility, and in the event of any breach, disciplinary action may be taken”.

Specific sanction, Grant said, is applied to the removal of unencrypted laptops or other official IT equipment.