It has emerged that David Cameron’s Cabinet Office Minister has been casually dropping papers in litter bins around St. James’s Park nearby Number 10. Photographed on his mobile phone and shuffling through papers, Letwin is shown to dispose of documents in the bins on at least 5 occasions. The documents, partly torn up before being dumped, consisted of emails, memos, letters and papers – some of which contained constituents’ personal details.
A spokesperson for Mr. Lewtin stated that the documents were “not of a sensitive nature,” and that the minister sometimes disposes of copies of letters while walking to work in the morning.
As it is Government policy to shred documents rather than just placing them in the bin, we sincerely hope that he hasn’t breached basic security protocol by tossing these papers in the rubbish in a public park. It is unclear whether the information Mr. Letwin disposed of actually was of a secure nature, however we are very disappointed with the lackadaisical treatment of constituents’ personal details.
Mr. Letwin has commented on the importance of privacy and data security in the past, stating open opposition to the ID card scheme axed by the Coalition. In 2002 as Shadow Home Secretary, he said “There is everything to fear from wrongful identification, or the acquisition of our identity for fraudulent purposes.” Perhaps Mr. Letwin should have taken his own advice when it comes to data security.
Data protection and security are policies that should not be treated with anything less than strict adherence. We at Big Brother Watch are troubled to see this kind of behaviour from someone who has previously expressed concerns with securing peoples’ personal details.
Government ministers should be setting an example for other government employees on these issues, and Mr Letwin’s behaviour in this incident is irresponsible.