Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Where are my keys .. I lost my phone"; Federal Privacy Commissioner Issues Strong Warnings

“Where are my keys .. I lost my phone” - Lady Gaga...

"Canada’s privacy watchdog says some federal departments have no security procedures in place for recovering, wiping or encrypting lost and stolen BlackBerry smart phones.

The oversight is just one of a laundry list of potential privacy breaches highlighted by Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart in a new government report released Tuesday.

The report examined how five federal departments — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Correctional Service of Canada, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada — dispose of old PCs and manage their wireless security infrastructure. The five departments represent trends occurring throughout other government departments and were chosen because of the significant amount of personal data they collect, Stoddart said.

The report found that none of the five departments had fully assessed the threats and risks associated with smart phones and wireless communications.

Other notable wireless security issues found during the audit include the lack of any encryption policies for data stored on BlackBerry devices, the liberal use of BlackBerry’s PIN-to-PIN messaging system among bureaucrats, and weak password policies for mobile devices."

IT World Canada - Privacy czar blasts feds on BlackBerry use


"In recent years, the use of smart phones such as the BlackBerry, as well as other mobile devices, has become pervasive among federal public servants, just as it has in the private sector. But in an interview, Stoddart said government departments aren't thinking "seriously enough" about how the proliferation of wireless technologies could be putting the personal information of Canadians at risk.

"They were handing out BlackBerrys, in some cases, with no instruction to staff about passwords, or encryption, so it is an area for concern," she said. "It's very concerning that significant parts of the federal government have still not caught up to the implications of the new technology." - Privacy watchdog 'disturbed' by feds' BlackBerry use, disposal of documents


Hopefully you'll forgive the gratutious use of a Lady Gaga picture on this story - she is holding a Blackberry, and her quoted lyrics indicate a missing cell phone, so that should tie it into the main story a little...

People don't want to learn how to use their technology.

"Waaah! Boo-hoo! I have to learn something new," say the users.

Get over it.

You are carrying around a huge amount of personal information, and in the case of government officials they are likely carrying around other people's information as well.

I wonder how these folks would feel if their lawyer wandered around town with their personal files and didn't take care to secure them? I wonder how they would feel if their doctor wandered around with their health files?

I think the point is made.

It takes about 30 minutes to learn how to set up the privacy settings on a smart phone. It might take another 15 minutes to play with them to make sure you know how to use them properly.

The security is built into the devices. It just has to be turned on.

Take the time.

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