MP exposes lack of net training at ICO

Only one member of the Information Commissioner’s Office has attended formal training on internet and computer-related crime over the past two years.

MP exposes lack of net training at ICO

The data has been teased out by Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who has been questioning the ICO’s handling of the Google Wi-Fi data breach. According to earlier inquiries, the ICO sent two apparently non-technical officers to Google’s premises to investigate the breach.

“It’s unbelievable that the ICO does not have the resources to train people for the work that’s required so they can do their jobs properly,” said Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, whose question prompted the revelations from Jonathan Djanogly, Under Secretary of State for Justice.

“I’m astonished that so few people are being trained at an organisation that clearly is not fit for purpose.”

It explains a lot about why they didn’t find anything useful when they went to Google. From a technical point of view their whole response was lamentable

Although 23 ICO staffers had attended a “Digital Identity Briefing” and 10 had attended a course entitled “Internet data – RIPA or open source”, neither of these courses nor the internet crime training were accredited.

The ICO has come under fire for the way in which it handled its investigation into the Google Street View Wi-Fi data breach.

The ICO initially ruled that the data breach wasn’t meaningful, despite the fact that Google later admitted it had collected entire emails and passwords.

Now it appears there are grounds to question whether the ICO even had staff who were qualified to assess the Google situation from a technical point of view.

Just two staff members had attended the “Core skills in data recovery and analysis” in the past 24 months and it seems likely those skills could have been crucial in assessing the Google case more effectively.

“It explains a lot about why they didn’t find anything useful when they went to Google,” said Halfon. “From a technical point of view, their whole response was lamentable.”

The “Core skills in data recovery and analysis” was the only accredited course among those taken by ICO staff, with the training overseen by the National Policing Improvement Agency.

The ICO declined to comment on the matter.

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