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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 17:26 GMT
Review in wake of missing package
John Swinney
Mr Swinney outlined a review of existing information security policies
Finance Secretary John Swinney has defended the Scottish Government amid security fears over a missing package containing pensions information.

He said the disappearance of the package was "a million miles away" from the HM Revenue and Customs' loss of the personal details of 25 million people.

Documents relating to 200 people were tracked down at Stobhill Hospital.

The news of the missing package came in the wake of the loss of child benefit discs by Revenue and Customs.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney said: "I hope that the chamber will agree that while this raises some issues for us to consider, it is a million miles from a government putting half the country's bank account details on an unencrypted disk, sticking it in the post and losing them."

All bodies in Scottish central government are being asked to confirm compliance with existing information security policies
Finance secretary John Swinney

The package, one of 162 sent by courier firm Fed Ex, was eventually found at Stobhill Hospital, its intended destination.

He stressed that the package only contained names and National Insurance numbers and never fell into the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police are still searching for the two child benefit discs containing names, dates of birth National Insurance numbers and bank account details.

Mr Swinney also outlined to parliament the arrangements for a review of information security policies and data handling arrangements in Scotland.

'Appropriate care'

He said: "All bodies in Scottish central government, including the NHS, are being asked to confirm compliance with existing information security policies, and to offer any practical recommendations for improvements or better management of risk.

"All Scottish Government staff have also been reminded of the need to adhere to the standards for protection of data and the need for appropriate care to be taken with data received, stored or transmitted to other bodies."

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Murdo Fraser said that following the loss of the HM Revenue and Customs' data, there "might have been some hubris in the corridors of Scottish Government, and the feeling that it couldn't happen here".

He added: "The disclosure of lost information by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency is certainly not on the same scale, but is worrying nonetheless.

"I have to wonder if these reported incidents are simply the tip of the iceberg.

"All the evidence points to a systemic failure in relation to the handling of information, at all levels of government, which should be of serious concern to us all."

SEE ALSO
Personal files go to wrong office
28 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
'Missing' pensions package found
25 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Pension details package 'missing'
24 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Disc search moves to courier firm
24 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
Brown apologises for records loss
21 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
UK's families put on fraud alert
20 Nov 07 |  UK Politics

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