back to article Does Gove’s webmail policy breach Data Protection Act too?

Does the use of Gmail or Hotmail by a Minister's Private Office (in order to evade Freedom of Information (FOI) obligations) also lead to breaches in the Data Protection Act? Well, I can see how this could be the case. The press has raised this issue only in the context of FOI. Yesterday's Sunday Times, for example, noted that …


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  1. Bluenose

    A further breach of DPA

    It is incumbent on the Data Controller to take steps to ensure that personal information is stored in such a way as to avoid it being accessed or processed in an unauthorised manner. It would be my contention that webmail systems (Hotmail, GMail or Facebook) do not actually have such necessary technology in place to protect such personal data (and I think the fact that this information has come out shows this). Therefore the DP has already been breached.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Well exactly...

      How many webmail hosters have already stated that they scan personal email for the purpose of targetted ad revenue?!

      "Ah I see [Mrs Blurt] you have mentioned [troop movements] and [arms sales], would you be interested in the following services: [army surplus stores] [data security]?"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the solution

    is to make it against the law (or at least parliamentary rules) to use private email systems for government business.

    Bar a few MPs for breaching this and you will soon get them toeing the line (or finding another loophole, which you then close and bar a few more etc.)

    Fairly sure my company would be upset (to say the least) if I tried to carry out business through unaccountable email addresses - pretty damn certain the law would be less than happy about it as well.

  3. DavCrav

    One rule for them?

    I can't help but remember an earlier El Reg story about university professors having their webmail raided if there's university business in it...

    Arguably this is 50,000 times more important than some professors gossiping to each other, so WTF?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Thanks, DavCrav ...

      ... I was going to make the same point. The precedent is there already, and the delightful minister should know that.

  4. LPF

    Only problem with this is that you have to be able to read these emails to work out whats being said, and he can then quite rightly tell you to go take a flying ****.

    By the way how does the Times know the content of his emails???

  5. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Public Records?

    Surely there is also a public records interest in communicatiosn between ministers and their advisors?

  6. JaitcH

    From what the Minister from Aberdeen says in public now and previously on the BBC ...

    simply proves that total pratts have an equal opportunity with those better prepared to handle to ministerial positions.

    In assuming the guise of a female e-mailer might, upon investigation, prove his further unsuitability for his present position, though.But there again, he is a Conservative and they have a history of doing strange things such as being found dead in women's underwear.

    Cameron should instruct all official business be conducted through government facilities.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      >Cameron should instruct all official business be conducted through government facilities.

      He shouldn't need to, it should be default policy. If I used my personal e-mail account to conduct business for my company I'd be sacked, I don't see why this case should be any different.

  7. despairing citizen

    Not the only ones

    It is also not unknown for Police Officers to use thier personal mobile phone to contact their colleagues back at the station, to aviod there radio call being recorded and possible used in evidence at a later date.

    Dodgy traders in London wanted IM on their machines, back when the IM's couldn't be logged.

    A new law to the effect that if you are carrying out a public or "regulated business" comunication, that it is an offence to use personal communication systems, as you are deliberately evading controls to ensure the lawfulness of your actions.


    also says alot about how "transparent" the ministers think our government should be

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the emails contain information classified greater than PROTECT, then they are almost certainly breaking The Rules from Cabinet Office.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Julian...

    ... and this is my friend Sandy

  10. Mike Richards

    Easy answer

    It's Michael bloody Gove - of course he's up to no good.

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