Foreign Office lost one PC every six weeks in last three years but claims they do not pose a security risk

Written by Sam Trendall on 9 February 2018 in News
News

Response to FOI request also reveals that department spends £66m a year on IT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office lost 26 computers over the past three years but has asserted that the technology and processes it has in place mean that the losses “do not pose a security risk”.

In response to a Freedom of Information request made last year, the department has published figures revealing that, during the three-year period to the end of August 2017, it lost 25 laptops and one desktop computer. This equates to the unexplained disappearance of one machine every six weeks.

But the devices in question did not require a high security classification, an FCO spokesperson indicated, and any threat created by their loss was entirely mitigated by the security systems and practices the department has in place.


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“The security protection on our devices ensure that, in the unfortunate event of them being lost, they do not pose a security risk,” the spokesperson added. “These devices are at a low classification level, and we have robust measures in place to manage to any risk.”

The FOI response also revealed that the FCO spends around £66m a year on IT hardware, software, and labour costs. Across 2015 its IT spending totalled a fraction over £66m, while in 2016 this rose to almost £66.8m. For the first eight months of last year its IT outlay came in at £44.4m – equating to an annual figure of £66.6m on a pro rata basis.

The FCO also revealed that it has disposed of close to 200 PCs in the last four years. In 2014 it disposed of 11 desktops and one laptop, while the following year the tally was 34 desktops and no laptops. Its 2016 disposals consisted of 129 desktops and four laptops, while the first eight months of 2017 saw the department dispose of six desktops and six laptops.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology, where a version of this story first appeared

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