Listen in, Directors: privacy matters

Tony reports that the board of HM Revenue & Customs has been suspended following an external review of last November’s loss of child benefit data. Since the incident, three non-exec directors have stepped down, one has resigned and another has moved to a new job. The Chancellor’s public statement on the incident and subsequent resignation of HMRC’s acting chairman were widely reported. The board will be replaced with an Executive and Advisers Committee pending a reorganisation.

Whilst the incident itself should of course never have been allowed to happen, the subsequent transparency and accountability is very welcome indeed. Finally we see senior executives held to account for privacy breaches. Not so long before, senior civil servants would have been able to shrug off such an incident and blame it on the system / a junior clerk / external suppliers / flawed systems inherited from the previous government* [delete as appropriate]. Hopefully this will put an end to such attitudes, and executives across the public and private sectors will follow HMRC’s example by taking privacy seriously.