Monday, 19 May 2014

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Update on missing laptops at RBWM

Over five months after our letter to the council which asked key questions about the 388 missing laptops, we've received a response from them. We've given copies of the response to the local press we've also put them here.

Why have we done this before we respond ourselves? Well we wanted to enable other people to give feedback on the situation. We have our own views and to be frank, we're more than a little shocked how bad the information security regime seems to have been at RBWM.

Kudos to reporter Dan Whiteway at the Royal Borough Observer - if it wasn't for him picking up on a chance comment (that wasn't minuted) in a council meeting, we would not have known about this gross waste of money and potentially even worse situation regarding citizen data protection.

For the Chairman of the Audit Panel originally describing the issue as "not a major security breach" in November, the council have gone to disclosing the issue to the Information Commissioner's Office (the ICO) in March, following our questions.

Here are the documents the council sent us:

We remain very concerned as you can see from our press release today. Please have a look at the council's response to us and give us your feedback by the 23rd of May 2014 via our email contact: We'll then ensure all the received points are covered in our response to the council.

Concern for Residents’ Data Grows Following Council Report Into 388 Lost Laptops

This press release was sent to the local newspapers on the 14th of May 2014:

Windsor’s Labour Party has expressed concern at a report into 388 missing laptops at the Royal Borough’s council.

The report follows a letter from the Windsor Labour Party containing 10 key questions for the council to answer about the 388 missing laptops. After waiting over five months for answers to the Labour Party’s questions, the council finally responded on the 7th of May.

The startling report shines a light on information security incompetence at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead council over a period of at least ten years revealing that no disciplinary action has taken place over the issue and that the laptops could not be found. They also appear to have misled the public in a response to a Freedom of Information request by stating that only 6 laptops were missing.

Jenny Ward, the new Chair of Windsor Labour said “the council simply doesn’t know what data was on the missing laptops, or seemingly who they were issued to and that is extremely worrying.”

The council admitted that they’d sent a report to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the 28th of March following an investigation prompted by Windsor Labour’s query. In November 2013, a Councillor described the issue as “not a major security breach”.

The Labour Party has made the council response available on their blog at for local residents to enable them to give feedback before a formal response is made to the council.