back to article Foreign Office loses dozens of PCs and smartphones

After other government departments revealed the number of electrical goods they'd left scattered around the pubs and train seats of the country, the Foreign Office has just coughed up the statistics on how many of its gadgets went missing last year. Since August 2010 Foreign Office bods lost 28 computers and 37 mobiles phones …


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  1. Thomas 18


    How about expressing it as a percentage of the number of phones/computers used by the department.

    Also why do they not track broken/damaged devices separately from lost ones. At the very least there should be a disposal policy with a paper trail.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Northern Ireland Office and the Welsh assembly wins a gold star for managing to not lose any electronic equipment for a whole year."

    But then, neither had any electronic equipment in the first place...

  3. TRT Silver badge

    The Welsh Assembly...

    might not have lost any electronics, but have you seen how many leeks they have?

    1. FredScummer
      Paris Hilton

      Not forgetting....

      ....and sheep.

      Paris, because she acts like a welsh sheep.

  4. Peter Simpson 1

    Q would say:

    Pay attention, 007!

    (as he removes from Bond's hand some deadly toy or other that Bond was about to trigger)

    //cloak....mind the dagger!

  5. Slartybardfast

    F.O.I Requests

    I think we need an F.O.I request to M.I 6 to see how many of Q's gadgets 007 has lost in the past year.

  6. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Not like Bond to lose anything?

    "...It's not like Bond to fumble his equipment..."?

    On the contrary, Q was ALWAYS complaining that Bond broke or lost every bit of equipment he was issued with - it was a standing joke in the Service......

  7. dotdavid
    IT Angle

    Fact of life

    Things are going to go missing or get stolen, although to be fair I had hoped it would happen... less...

    IT departments definitely need to make sure they're encrypted properly though. And something like Prey ( would be nice to aid recovery too.

    "Where's the IT angle" icon because where's the IT device? ;-)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The FO spokesman was at pains to point out that "lost" could also mean "stolen or damaged"."

    Or "sold" perhaps?

    Let's hope not.

  9. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    Another Hatchet Job...

    Just some napkin figures...

    28 computers

    32 mobiles

    14000+ members on staff in 170+ countries.

    Let's pretend only 10% of staff get a work issued device, so 1400 just to be conservative. That's a loss rate about 4%

    iPhone 4 (non s) O2 PAYG 429.99

    O2 Insure on Pay Monthly 12.50/ month + £50+ excess on claim so over 12 months if lost = £200

    Implied odds of losing: just under 47%

    Implied odds if we assume insurance is sold on 50% markup: About 23%

    Could we actually see some quality journalism rather than cheap hatchet jobs. As others said before me and I said in the last article these statistics mean squat without a point of comparison and without an idea of the total number of devices.

  10. Dan Paul

    More Stolen than Lost?!

    Just an observation from a Yank, but given the proclivity of politicians (worldwide) for lying (and many who are associated with them), seems more likely that this stuff is getting stolen rather than "lost". Just easier to report it lost as the police don't get involved. They "might" find something incriminating otherwise.

    Too bad politicians don't get "stolen"...... although lots of us regular folk tell them to get lost on a frequent basis.

    1. FredScummer


      > Too bad politicians don't get "stolen"

      The purpose of reporting something stolen is that you hope to get it back. Where a politician is concerned I'm not sure that purpose would apply.

  11. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    The article is more what I'd expect from the Daily Fail. Lots of "scarey" statistics, but no context.

    What percentage of the IT estate were these genuinely lost items ?

    What was the data protection policies/procedures on them ? Was the data encrypted ? Was the device reported missing quickly ? Was remote wipe activated quickly ?

    We'd all want people to not loose their electronic devices. However, a well run IT department will have policies & procedures in place for this eventuality.

    Whilst we want organisations to chastise their staff for loosing expensive IT gear, we'd expect their employees to get hung, drawn and quartered for not reporting a loss.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Civil Cervants a bunch of Thieves (with some exceptions)?

    I don't have any proof, but the word of some people who work in the MOD and the MOJ, and it does happen quite frequently, that things get lost in the sens, that relatives like some of the gadgets.

    It is appauling how bad our government, the MPs, and the Civil Cervants are.

    We always complain about the corruption in some of the southern European countries, and yet, when I lookj at what is going on here, I am disgusted.

    just because we don't hear as much about it in the media in our own country, doesn't mean it doesn't happen!!!!

    Look at Germany:

    If a mobile gets stolen, you just give the IMEI to your provider and it gets barred across all networks (and most of the attached ones in other countries too, except the UK of course....).

    Yes, you can change the IMEI, but that is only worthwhile if done professionally, and if the providers put a little bit of effort into it, they could still read out the original, as it is hard-wired, but can be "mispresented"

    And now I realise, I can't choose my icon, because I am an anonymous coward. :-(

    1. Chad H.


      IMEIs are blocked in the UK too.

      Maybe you're thinking about the USA where they refuse to use the IMEI blocklist.

  13. Craig 28

    Remember it includes damaged/faulty

    If it includes damaged and/or faulty equipment it seems surprising that the NI and Welsh Assembly didn't have a single device listed, then again maybe they don't have so many to begin with. Given the sheer number of staff in the foreign office and the varied environments they work in chances are they're much more prone to damage or general failure, consider the implications of varying climates and potentially the shock from travelling in an area with poor road conditions. It's the UK-based groups I'm worried about with the amount of kit they lose. Then again maybe they've just seen the new version and want an upgrade...

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