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August 26, 2008


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You have been mis-informed Paul Kearns. The only post that are deleted are the obscene, abusive ones or those that cross other boundaries of intelligent debate.. We do have standards and I will not have this site littered with the name-calling puerile nonsense that are common on other sites.
your comment misses the point which is

I suggested you ask your own MP about his/her work.

I have had had about 20 jobs in my life. The hardest workers that I have known are MPs. You follow the current fashion for denigrating MPs. So tabloid. Read my tribute to Leo Abse.

Paul Kearns

Firstly - will you please stop putting everything in rhyme.

I quote

How many people have been damaged by lost data? None.

Is Public Data lost more often that Private? No, it’s the same.

Is this a new problem caused by Government? No. It’s comes with new technology in which a vast amounts of information can be stored on minute discs and memory sticks.

Are Governments responsible for data lost by private companies they employ? Yes, indirectly. But the Government has laid down rigid guidelines.

Point 1 - How do you know that no-one has been affected? You don't and you can't.

Point 2. This is not a new problem - the government has lost lots of data before. Don't you dare try and land this one on us. If we supply the technology and you screw it up - there is no way you can spin it - the problem was caused by the government's ignorance and missuse of available technology.

Point 3. You have answered your own question - the government is totally responsible for the actions of its sub contractors - as is any private company. You cannot simply say - well we told them what to do - and left them to get on with it - and then try and make out it was not your fault. The government is culpable and, in the olden days (remember - when we had real MPs and stuff) someone would have resigned and done the "honourable" thing (I am sure if you Google it you will find out a definition of honourable) and resigned.

I would like to make two salient points that I hope will be of interest.

The first is that - I am of the belief that out publically salaried MPs should all be compelled to fill in time sheets - so that we can see what they are actually doing on our behalf. In your case I see that would not be required as, by your own admission, you have spent "all day blogging". Do you really think that this is what you are paid to do?

My second point is that, altough we have never really met or talked much - I understand that it is you normal practice to delete posts that either call into question your massive status as an MP or you usimply do not agree with. Well - my views are that, as I pay your wages (which means that I not you pay for this website as well as the time you take to delete my post) you simply are not allowed to delete any posts unless they are obscene or offensive. For that reason - I have taken the URL of this post and will post it onto all of the sites I administer with a direct link. People will then be aware (if the post is not there) that you are not one to take it but - are quite happy to waste our money dishing it out.

In closing - I am not anti government - just the opposite. It's just that I and most of the country feel that forwome reason, whilst your mob are nominally in power - you are costing the country millions every hour. It is time we had a government.


Paul, the Government is actually directly responsible for data lost by private companies they employ, not indirectly as you say. Check out the meaning of “data controller” and “data processor” in section 1 and schedule 1.II of the Data Protection Act 1998. The Data Controller can sub-contract out the work to a Data Processor but not Data Protection Act responsibility - principle 7 says "Where processing of personal data is carried out by a data processor on behalf of a data controller, the data controller must ... take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with those measures." - e.g. inspect and control their sub-contractor. If organisations were allowed to sub-contract out their legal responsibility, they could do that to mickey-mouse organisations just to escape responsibility.

That said, if PA Consulting or an employee acted recklessly despite a reasonable contract and controls, they might possibly be prosecuted under section 55. The Govt itself is immune from prosecution by virtue of section 63, but individual civil servants can be prosecuted!

I think we need a revamp of the DPA and for the Information Commissioner be given more power. Generally the Information Commissioner is limited to issuing enforcement notices - he/she needs some teeth to scare business into treating Data Protection more seriously. Data loss on the current scale is not inevitable if it was taken more seriously in the business priority list relative to profit etc, and risk of prosecution would achieve that.


Yes. Agree with all that Huw. The point I have been striving (unsuccessfully) to make is who sets the agenda of daily disasters? Is it done on news vales of how much damage can be done to the Government. Yesterday was a good example. Six year olds laws that allow officials to fine people for breaches of laws were discovered by a tabloid who exploded with a freedom to brak the law with impunity tantrum.

Huw O'Sullivan

To be fair Paul, we probably would not know for quite some time whether any of the lost information was found by a wrongdoer.
They certainly are not going to advertise to the authorities that they have found it, they would either use it or sell it and unless caught it would be difficult to link it to the loss.

Data is information, information is power, if power is mislaid, it can end up in the wrong hands, we do not know that it has not.
If you lose your housekeys and are sensible you change your locks, if government collected information about us and our families is mislaid there is little or nothing we can do to protect ourselves.

As there is nothing we can do, I suppose an attitude of carry on as normal and hope for the best is indeed called for, it is not the same however as saying no harm done.


Still not one example of anyone being harmed?

Data lost: careless. Data found: potentially dangerous.

After umpteen millions bit of information lost, none have been found by a wrongdoer. How about a sense of proportion?

Jolly Roger

So now we're morons, that's nice to know.
Particularly when our opinions show,
A depth of concern re: our personal data,
Paul seems to drop this red hot potater,
Dismissing lost data as "boring dross",
If it was yours Paul, you'd certainly be giving a toss.
But of course, you're not gullible like the rest of we folks.
Is this just one of your NuLabour jokes?

Just look at today's news and you will see.
Another example of "who gives a T"
More data lost near Preston in Lancs.
I suppose now you'll be offering your thanks,
To the diligent souls of HMCS.
For helping you out of this data loss mess.
Kindly remember in your Westminster bower.
Possession of Data is possession of Power.


Hello Paul

Losing personal data once, fair enough; twice, unfortunate; however as the Guardian points out, it seems shockingly routine for civil servants to misplace laptops and CDs stuffed full of data!


How does ONE department lose 658 laptops and 89 memory sticks in 4 years? I have to pay for my hardware out of my own pocket - do civil servants pay less attention to computers if they come courtesy of taxpayers?

Seems to me the Data Protection people need to pay some more attention to Whitehall rather than the private sector!




Jolly’s verse is still prolific,
But the charge does not stick,
No answer to ‘Where is the harm?
Just abject surrender to tabloid charm.

Media needs false sensation
To alarm the moron nation,
Frankenstein foods, MMR, knives,
and Euro-fables blight our lives.

All are great for circulations,
Faster beats the palpitations,
Data lost is boring dross
Only the gullible give a toss.


Thanks Adam. Certainly the music scene in Newport has been a triumph and it's given a great boost to the city. GLC put Newport on the map and here are superb groups that will break through soon. New State Radio have everything and deserve success. Glad you had a great success at Newport!

A new cold war is about the worst news that the world could have.

Jolly Roger

How many people have been damaged by this?
None? You're surely taking the piss.
The damage is clear to see for the seers.
But no, you'll post supporting your peers.
The damage is obvious if the info's displayed.
How many plots and plans could be laid?
The damage is done to the Government's cred.
I wonder what you'll blog when NuLabour's dead.

Is this a new problem caused by the Gov?
I'm afraid that's a fact, Paul, me old love.
You blame it on the New Technology.
I'll blame it on this, 'coz I've got an ology.
It's plain misuse of the Government's new toy.
Didn't you learn that as a much younger boy?
I'll give you a comparator, if you like.
Did you ever have a bike?

When new tech. arrives, you have to be trained,
To avoid the risk of being quite pained.
If you rode your bike and slammed the front brake.
An unexpected over-bar flight you would take.
Although the flight would be rather brief.
You generally would end up minus front teef.
I jumped on mine and peradventure,
Slammed the front brake and now have a denture.

If only I'd listened to a word from the wise.
I wouldn't have been taken quite by surprise.
The same applies to your Government's rules,
Wherein my data is handled by fools.
The solution is simple, leave it to a pro.
Not some political busybody, giving it a go.
The portents of damage? It's a bit early, mate.
Try that one again at a later date.

Despite your rather laboured reassurance.
It'll generally be met with disbelief and abhorrence,
By a public that's sick of the spin and the lies.
Why not own up, you may have a surprise.
But ever since this Government's inception,
Its motto has been 'Lies and Deception'.
But in two years time things'll be fine,
When NuLab's made to walk the line.

(c) Jolly Roger Publications.

Adam Walton

It's reassuring to know that one of our elected representatives shares my growing anxiety about the sabre-rattling over Georgia.

It's a pity, of course, that both we and the United States disqualified ourselves from any moral high ground the moment we invaded Iraq.

It's at times like these when governments let us down.

Governments have more pride than a streetfighter. Invariably, however, it's *our* lives they're playing with.

I'm not one of your constituents, Mr. Flynn, but I do applaud your courage and the support you give to the youth of Newport.

I present a music show that focuses on new, Welsh music and I have so much to thank Newport for. Great, characterful people who make music with wit, invention and great soul.

And that's the musicians of today, not 10 years ago.

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