PITO chief warns of data abuse

Philip Webb, Chief Executive of the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), has warned that the use of surveillance databases could be compromised if the security of the stored data isn’t tightened.

Nov 2, 2006
By David Howell
Picture: IWF

Philip Webb, Chief Executive of the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), has warned that the use of surveillance databases could be compromised if the security of the stored data isn’t tightened.

Mr Webb stated: “What we’ve not got is clear rules for ensuring that data is protected and new data is properly controlled. Custodianship of information is an issue that legislators should address from a national and international level. We have guidelines, but that`s within the police service. Once it’s gone outside it’s more difficult to control.”

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has come under the spotlight as it continues to hand out requested information even after receiving 15,000 complaints from ex-offenders according to the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro) report issued in January. It does issue information to legitimate agents who are checking applicants for vacancies to work with children, but it is claimed that the system is also being abused and used to discriminate against applicants who are being vetted for job vacancies.

The CRB told the Register that it had de-registered 2973 as part of its routine cull to remove any agents that had made less than ten requests for information in a given year. In the twelve months to April 1, 2006, the CRB upheld 2,273 complaints about disclosures they had made. The CRB intends to perform another cull that will remove any agent that has made 15 or less enquiries in a year.

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