Edinburgh City Council red faced as unencrypted laptop stolen

PC owned by independent consultant

Another Scottish council faces an embarrassing investigation after an unsecured laptop was stolen from the home of a consultant working on child fostering cases for Edinburgh City Council.

The unencrypted laptop is believed to have contained details of "dozens" of fostering cases going back some years, including notes on reviews carried out on foster and adoptive parents.

The Council has reportedly been in contact with those it believes might be affected by the matter.

"The police advice is that it's unlikely the information was targeted and that the laptop was probably wiped for resale," a Council spokesperson was quoted as telling local press.

"However, we won't take any chances even when there is a low risk of individuals being identified. We have contacted the majority of those involved and have apologised. We're working with our external advisers to stress the importance of information security."

As recently as June, Glasgow City Council lost a laptop containing the details of 38,000 customers, businesses and citizens, another case of data being stored in an unencrypted state.

The Edinburgh incident also brings home the vulnerability in not properly extending data encryption policies to those working for Public Sector organisations as consultants.

"Organisations still need to realise that data loss or theft can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Failure to anticipate this could once be explained as a sad accident. As time goes on it will look more and more like negligence," commented Viasat UK CEO, Chris McIntosh.

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