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Gov't laptop ban hits driving-agency performance

The Whitehall ban on removal of devices containing unencrypted personal data triggered a performance slump at the UK's driving safety agency and caused it to revert to paper-based processes
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Written by Nick Heath on

The government ban on the movement of encrypted data triggered a performance slump at the UK's driving safety agency and forced it to temporarily revert from electronic to paper-based processes.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa) saw its "enforcement performance" fall away by 20 percent after the ban was introduced in January.

The ban on removal of laptops and portable devices with unencrypted personal data was introduced across all government departments in the wake of a string of high-profile data losses, including the loss of 600,000 personnel details by the Ministry of Defence and the loss of 25 million confidential records by HM Revenue & Customs.

Vosa is the government agency that provides a range of licensing, testing and enforcement services to improve roadworthiness standards and compliance with road-traffic laws.

Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick told Parliament in a written answer: "The agency minimised the impact on its enforcement activities through increased use of encrypted mobile compliance devices, laptops with printing function disabled, and temporary paper-based enforcement processes."

Fitzpatrick said Vosa had completed the deployment of encrypted operations laptops on 11 March.

Figures recently emerged that revealed government departments have lost more than 1,000 laptops.

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