Chi Onwurah questions future of government data security policy

The future of the government’s management of data has come under question this week, with the Cabinet Office yet to outline its plans for the role of chief data officer, ahead of incumbent Mike Bracken stepping down.

Replying to a written question to Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock by MP and former shadow minister Chi Onwurah about plans for a new data officer, the government said future appointments will be “announced in the normal way”.

Onwurah raised the question after accusing the government of being unable to ensure the personal data of the public was being safeguarded – citing a number of high-profile breaches over the last two months, including a sexual health clinic revealing the HIV status of around 800 patients, Google releasing 220,000 ‘right to be forgotten’ requests’, and the hacking of Ashley Madison.

Onwurah wrote: “Matt Hancock seems oblivious to the immense opportunities offered and challenges posed by technology and data. Establishing the first chief data officer in March was an important step but just six months later the post has been vacant for a month with no sign of what will happen next.”

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