Magistrates' details sent to prison

The BBC reports that the magistrates’ yearbook for Norfolk was accidentally sent to a Category D prison for printing, thereby potentially exposing information about all of Norfolk’s magistrates to the prisoners. Whilst the details do not include home addresses, one magistrate is quoted as saying:

“It doesn’t particularly concern me as anyone can look in the phone book and find my name, but some magistrates could be really worried – there will be those who will be terrified,” he said.

Magistrates aren’t to be confused with judges – most are lay people who have volunteered to take on the role part-time, have been selected by their peers, and undergone training about their duties, but are not themselves from a legal background. They tend to deal with small cases, but will often have seen no end of minor crimes against individuals and property pass before them during their careers. What shocks me here is the response of the Court Service:

“All hard copies and electronic copies of the document at the prison have now been destroyed. The screening process for documents to be printed at the prison workshop has been made more secure to ensure this does not happen again.”

Has it not occurred to the Court Service that maybe the real problem here is the existence of a book of details in the first place? That a new-fangled piece of technology called the Internet might allow authorised users to access only the information they require, without distributing books of it just in case it comes in handy? With technology attitudes such as this, it’s little wonder that the likes of the Libra project suffered so many problems

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