Justice Committee

Press Notice No. 10

(Session 2007-08), 23 January 2008 / For Immediate Release


The Ministry of Justice has today confirmed reports that four CDs of personal data held by the Courts Administration Inspectorate have been lost in the post. The Justice Committee is writing to the Ministry to ascertain what kind of information was held on the discs, what security measures were in place, how the loss came about and what action the Ministry is taking now.

Chairman of the Justice Committee Rt Hon Alan Beith MP said:

"We are extremely concerned at the potential serious risk to victims of crime and witnesses connected to criminal cases if their personal details have been lost and fall into the wrong hands and the possibility of prejudice to any prosecutions. We expect a full account of how this loss came about and what the Courts Inspectorate and the Ministry of Justice is doing about the potential consequences. This further underlines the need to urgently implement my Committee's recent recommendations for improved data protection and the introduction of criminal penalties for reckless or repeated loss of data."

In its recent report Protection of Private Data, produced in the wake of the HMRC child benefits records loss, the Committee called for:

€”new reporting requirements that would require companies to report losses of data

€”new laws making significant security breaches, where reckless or repeated, a criminal offence

€”quick implementation of the new enforcement powers for the Information Commissioner to conduct unannounced spot checks on Government Department's data systems

€”proper resources for the Office of the Information Commissioner

Notes to editors:
1. The Chairman is available between 5 and 6pm today for comment or interview. Please call Jessica Bridges Palmer on 0207 219 0724 or 07917 488 447

2. The Committee's report on Protection of Private Data was published on 3 January 2008 as HC 154, Session 2007-08

3. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Alan Beith MP (Chairman), Rosie Cooper MP, Mr David Howarth MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, Siân James MP, Jessica Morden MP, Julie Morgan MP, Mr Humfrey Malins MP, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Robert Neill MP, Dr Nick Palmer MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Mr Andrew Tyrie MP and Dr Alan Whitehead MP

Further Information:
Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges Palmer (020 7219 0724) email: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk; Clare Mills (07795 662742);

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 8196/ 8198, email: justicecom@parliament.uk

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/justicecom

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