back to article MPs launch 'TalkTalk' inquiry over security of personal data online

Executives at TalkTalk, including CEO Dido Harding herself, may face a grilling from Members of Parliament over the shoddy security practices which led to the theft of than a million Britons' data from her company. This morning the Culture, Media and Sport Committee announced it had "launched an inquiry into cyber-security …

  1. leon clarke

    I'm really pleased that MPs are taking security of personal data online seriously

    Another issue is making sure that ISPs or others don't store excessive personal data, such as browsing histories, in the first place. I hope MPs will ensure ISPs don't do any such thing.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: I'm really pleased that MPs are taking security of personal data online seriously

      Since Snoopers Charter XXX has just been published it seems increasingly likely that MP's are going to ensure ISP's do exactly that.

      Time to write to your MP/Join the open rights group/big brother watch.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Too Late

        New surveillance powers will be given to the police and security services, allowing them to access records tracking every UK citizen’s use of the internet without any need for any judicial check, under the provisions of the draft investigatory powers bill unveiled by Theresa May.

        It includes new powers requiring internet and phone companies to keep “internet connection records” – tracking every website visited but not every page – for a maximum of 12 months but will not require a warrant for the police, security services or other bodies to access the data. Local authorities will be banned from accessing internet records.


        Did someone comment recently that Dildo Dido is a Tory Scion?

        I think the term is Spion.

    2. Warm Braw

      Re: I'm really pleased that MPs are taking security of personal data online seriously

      Well, of course, not only is that being proposed, the rules governing the security of that data sound almost identical to those applicable to TalkTalk's wayward personal data:

      A telecommunications operator must put in place adequate security systems (including technical and organisational measures) governing access to relevant communications data retained by virtue of this Part in order to protect against any unlawful disclosure.

      So that's alright then.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm really pleased that MPs are taking security of personal data online seriously

      Your hopes will be dashed until such time as the stored info grab they are rubber stamping turns and bites them.

      When all their personal data is exposed for all to see then you will see some action, not before.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm really pleased that MPs are taking security of personal data online seriously

      Didn't they all go to Uni together or something?

      Harding is the daughter of Lord Harding, and the grand daughter of Field Marshal John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton, who commanded the Desert Rats in World War II.[4] Raised on the family pig farm in Dorset, she was educated at St Antony's Leweston from 1978–85. She then graduated from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, where she studied under Vernon Bogdanor and alongside David Cameron;[2] and then at Harvard Business School,

  2. just another employee

    patellar reflex response?

    ..sounds like it might be.

    Paellar Relex =Things jump in response, swing about a bit, that return to normal resting position.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: patellar reflex response?

      Paella reflex. (sorry, couldn't resisit...)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can imagine question 1

    "Why was so much of it ENcrypted? C'mon, you're a Tory peer, you should know better."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This might be hilarious

    We get to see the technical grasp of the Cultural Committee as they forensically examine Dido over all aspects of computer security.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: This might be hilarious

      Get in Stephen Fry as an expert witness.

  5. M7S

    "wider implications for telecoms and internet service providers" why so limited?

    Surely this should be expanded to any company keeping customer data. Apart from the nature of the service provided, how is the storage of customer information different in principle for an ISP as opposed to say British Gas, British Airways or

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Culture, Media and Sport Committee" doesn't sound like the correct place to be investigating a companies mishandling of millions of pieces of identifying data. A police station sounds like a better place.

    A company that invariably failed to take its commitment to data protection seriously and starved its IT department of the authority and funds to help insure robust and deep defence of our information. These decisions almost certainly being led from the very top of the company and each member of the board should be held personally responsible criminally and financially.

  7. 0laf


    Government has been pretty quiet on this whole debacle so far. Wouldn't be anything to do with Dido Harding being an Oxford student with David Cameron, married to John Penrose Conservative MP, former minister and Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury, and was made a Conservative Lord in 2014 (Baroness Harding of Winscombe)?

    I'm sure if she was similarly connected on the other side of the house the Government would have been similarly quiet.

    Still nice to see something happening, shame the ICO doesn't have jail sentences to hand.

  8. Fraggle850

    Are there any techies in the Ministry of Fun (DCMS)?

    I might get my pen out and write a few lines. They need to take this seriously and get it right, especially in terms of proportional sanctions against organisations that fail.

    1. LucreLout

      Re: Are there any techies in the Ministry of Fun (DCMS)?


      They need to take this seriously and get it right, especially in terms of proportional sanctions against organisations that fail.

      I agree, organisations should take this seriously, but we also need to move beyond that. Currently the CEO or some C suite dosser takes a fall with an golden parachute big enough for King Kong, before popping up elsewhere at non-exec level.

      What we should be doing is making extensive use of the directorship disbarment laws to ensure that those responsible face genuine consequences rather than a job hop, leaving the shareholders and remaining staff to clear up the mess and pay the price. Additionally we should prevent by law the payment of severance packages to senior staff - if the gravvy train comes off the tracks due to your own negligence, then why should you make out like a bandit consequence free?

      1. amanfromarse

        Re: Are there any techies in the Ministry of Fun (DCMS)?


        >What we should be doing is making extensive use of the directorship disbarment laws...

        Absolutely. The only solution, perfectly elucidated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are there any techies in the Ministry of Fun (DCMS)?

      There are in some of their arms-length bodies..

  9. hatti

    How cosy

    I wonder if the inquiry was one John Penrose's idea as a window dressing exercise to quell the public ire by demonstrating that something appears to be being done to reprimand Talk Talk.

    I'm quite sure Ms. Harding will be well briefed by hubby on how to handle questions from the inquiry panel as to how to provide Teflon coated responses.

  10. Velv

    MPs to examine how ISPs store personal and sensitive data, on the day it's proposed to make it law for ISPs to store more personal and sensitive data.

    Oh, the irony!

  11. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Political points scoring, maybe a veiled attack on the Tory establishment and it's security hypocrisy, and possibly ironic security hypocrisy by some of the investigating MPs.

    I'm sceptical that anything genuinely useful will come from this political inquiry, but maybe the worsening image of Dodo will cause CEOs to give customer data security more serious consideration and take the piss less with inadequate security.

  12. Commswonk

    Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee

    I am slightly (no - more than slightly) disappointed to find that the CMS Select Committee has a Conservative Chairman, because that could all too easily result in Harding being given too gentle a ride. At the same time would any Select Committee want to risk a barrage of criticism for soft - pedalling when the proceedings are likely to finish up at or near the top of major television news bulletins?

    Having looked at the on - line submission page of the CMS SelCom here:

    I cannot help but wonder how securely held the personal information required in it will be held. While deploring breaches of data security it would nonetheless be extremely funny if the enquiring committee had its list of submissions and their originators hacked.

  13. Captain Badmouth
    Big Brother

    Oh dear

    We'll possibly get to know (or equally possibly not) how much of that £7M she got last year she is worth. (clue : not a lot)

    Members of the committee :

    Member................................. Party

    Jesse Norman (Chair) ..........Conservative

    Nigel Adams ........................Conservative

    Andrew Bingham ..................Conservative

    Damian Collins ....................Conservative

    Julie Elliott ...........................Labour

    Paul Farrelly.........................Labour

    Nigel Huddleston..................Conservative

    Ian C. Lucas...................... Labour

    Jason McCartney ................Conservative

    Christian Matheson.............. Labour

    John Nicolson .....................Scottish National Party

    Have any of these people any technical knowledge?

    Committee has quite a wide remit :

    The Culture, Media and Sport Committee monitors the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its associated bodies, including the BBC, on behalf of the House of Commons and the electorate.

    It also conducts inquiries into areas of current interest within its remit, for example:

    Future of the BBC

    New developments in broadcasting

    Online Safety

    Women and Sport

    The geographical distribution of funds by the Arts Council

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear

      Dido's dad is a major Conservative party donor so I can't imagine that half of the committee will be particularly challenging.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Cyber security: Protection of personal data online inquiry

    They just had to put a 'cyber' in it... (for streed cred I'd guess)

    It's good an inquiry has been launched. Now it's important that this is more than just window dressing. It's a chance for the committee members to gain publicity, and that can be used for leverage by public pressure. A lot of TT customers should write to the committee, to the committee members individually and to their MPs. When a certain level of public interest is made perfectly clear, no politician dares to ignore it. It's part of the game. They don't ingnore it for at least two reasons: 1) must bee seen to be doing something 2) hey, this is a chance for me to move a few rungs up in the party pecking order. Plus there is always infighting that can be put to good use, afer all there's always this:

    Q: "What's the comparative form of 'mortal enemy'? A: "Fellow party member."

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