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Govt. Rapped Over Data Protection

The Information Commissioner has taken the British government to task over breaching its own data protection laws. According to a report, the UKVisas site, which is run jointly by the Foreign Office and the Home Office, but which was outsourced to an Indian company, VFS, didn’t make data from visa applicants secure.   A Channel 4 News report in May forced the parties to admit the breach, which affected some 50,000 visa applicants to the British High Commission in India.. However, it transpired that VFS had been told of the problem as early as December 2005, according to the Guardian.   “Sound security needs to be woven into the business and cannot be simply bolted on as an extra," said the Information Commissioner’s report. "The earlier contracts paid insufficient attention to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and to basic IT security."   As a result of the investigation, the Foreign Office is reviewing its operations and has ended its contract with VFS, which also operated the UKVisas sites in Nigeria and Russia.

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