Many words have been written on how Garda “work-to-rule” action that kicked off yesterday. As part of the action, Gardai will withdraw the use of personal equipment to aid them in their daily work. So the personal mobile phones, cameras and laptops of Gardai will not be used to expedite their tasks.
What’s not mentioned in the coverage of this dispute so far is the security threat of using personal equipment on the beat. While I’m sure that the Gardai would be as careful if not more careful about keeping their personal equipment safe, have these been secured for use for police business?
Pictures taken on cameras and mobile phones could easily be copied and data downloaded from laptops. One wonders about how many of these laptops have encrypted hard drives, locked-down ports and secured remoting services. Let’s not think about virus protection.
One of the tasks that Gardai use their laptops for is case notes. If a laptop is stolen or compromised, can you imagine the amount of sensitive information that could be harvested? Only a matter of time.
Interesting to note also, that last month it was revealed that less than half of the country’s Garda stations have Internet access.