Government loose lips on trains

One thing that always amazes me is my teenage son’s ability to navigate his way around complex computer games, quickly learn and master new tunes on his guitar, maintain six simultaneous instant messaging conversations, and learn every tiny bit of trivia about obscure rock bands, yet completely fail to remember extremely simple things such as where he put down his shoes, to recharge his mobile phone, or to change his socks.

He’s clearly destined for greatness, maybe even government because our politicians have the same ability to master complex challenges (such as those of national politics and running the country) yet the inability to remember some basic and very simple fundamentals (in this instance relating to information security).

Only last week I wrote on this blog about the risks of talking about private business in a public place. Now the government has once again fallen victim to it’s own incompetence after a private conversation about a new policy on fuel payments for families on child benefits, between Sir Brian Bender permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and a colleague, was overheard on a train and subsequently reported to the press (as reported in the Sunday Times).

There is so much more to information security than anti-virus software and firewalls. Some of it is very simple indeed and requires no more technical skill than the ability to engage brain before speaking. Clearly a skill lacking in some government departments.

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