News | Published February 23 2020

Government employees lost over 2,000 devices last year

According to a report from mobile communication firm Viasat, government employees lost 2,004 mobile devices over the last 12 months. 

These figures include those that were stolen, as well as those that were simply misplaced, and covers smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Of the 2,004 devices which were lost, only 249 were recovered.

Of all government departments, the Ministry of Defence reported the most missing devices, with 767. In second place, although trailing far behind, was HMRC, with 288. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was in third place, with 197 devices reported missing.

In their defence, the Ministry of Defence said it had lost more devices because it had more employees. Ministry of Defence staff include military personnel in the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

While the vast majority of these devices were encrypted, with the Ministry of Defence stressing they had “robust” procedures in place, it is estimated that nearly 200 may not have been.

This information was gathered by Viasat who sent Freedom of Information requests to 47 public bodies, with 27 answering. The data covers the period between June 2018 and June 2019.

Of all the devices reported missing, according to the BBC, 1,474 were reported lost, 347 were stolen and 183 were either lost or stolen.

Responding to these figures, a government spokesperson said: “Data security is a top priority for the UK government and is supported by £1.9 billion of investment under the National Security Programme.”

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Authored by

The Parliamentary Review

February 23 2020

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