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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Government Will Develop Transparent Email Strategy

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that private email accounts used for departmental business might be accessed and open to the public. This was said following the leaking of emails by adviser Dominic Cummings to Education Secretary Michael Gove, which caused the uproar over discussion of departmental business about the private accounts.

DfE has already completed an investigation and the ICO published new guidance with a harsh warning that private emails can’t be protected from public disclosure.

The Information Commissioner’s Office found out that there was supposedly a lack of clarity over the legislation concerning whether the private email accounts can be used for discussion of personal data, so now the ICO is seeking to stamp this out. The problem is that for those in government having a joint role in covering both departmental policy and party political adviser there would be a definite crossover in interests.

Now it looks like if the private accounts are suspected of being used to secretly further departmental interests, the accused will have to disclose their passwords. As you can understand, a new guidance is supposed to help decide in which situations a search of private email accounts can be proved necessary. In addition, it also seeks to outline the procedures that have to be generally in place in order to respond to requests for data to be made public from private accounts.

Despite the fact that it is claimed that searching of private email accounts shouldn’t be a frequent matter, it still comes as not much comfort to people who may be about to have their emails pored over.

Actually, there’s a case to open up further lines of communication under these new rules. Indeed, there are little grounds to reject disclosing passwords, with the intentional concealment of data being a criminal act. This part the Information Commissioner’s Office didn’t forget to reiterate. Even people found to be purposefully deleting such letters will be in trouble.

Meanwhile, the discussion of very sensitive government business drew flak from insecurity specialists who notified that sending data away from secure departmental emails may represent a big risk, along with being very unethical.

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