Government: Data Transfer Protocols

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st January 2008.

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Photo of The Earl of Northesk The Earl of Northesk Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the security arrangements and protocols for the transfer of sensitive or confidential data from government departments and agencies to Eurostat and other European Union organisations are adequate; and

On how may occasions in the past five years sensitive or confidential data have been transferred from government departments or agencies to Eurostat or other European Union organisations by other than electronic means; and

On how many occasions in the past five years sensitive or confidential data have been transferred from government departments or agencies to Eurostat or other European Union organisations in an unencrypted format.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

The Government use a secure infrastructure for transmission of data to European Union institutions—the TESTA EU Commission network—and the organisation of transfers using this network, or transmission of data by any other means, is the responsibility of individual departments, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the European Commission and the UK.

I also refer the noble Lord to the Statement made by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister on 21 November 2007 (Hansard, col. 1179). The review by the Cabinet Secretary and security experts is looking at procedures within departments and agencies for the storage and use of data. On 17 December, the Cabinet Office published an interim progress report (Hansard, col. WS 69). Copies are available in the Library. A further report is expected in spring 2008.

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