Datasecurity Last week I wrote that the Becta advice on “Information Security Guidance for Schools”  had been updated, effectively banning schools from taking student data out of the school. A few readers commented on the news –‘impossible’ and ‘worried’ came up – and so I’ve been looking for a little more information. Nobody seems to have heard much more about what’s going on, and what the eventual final advice for schools is going to be, so I’ve been stalking the web for info…and that’s drawing blanks too!

The Becta advice urges schools to “review their existing data security policies and update them to include the specific requirements of the Cabinet Office’s Hannigan letters”, and they also refer to meeting “the July 2008 Hannigan timeline”,  so I’ve been looking at what that means.

Well, they’ve really got me now – there appears to be no such thing as the Hannigan letters – the only reference on Live Search and Google is back to the same Becta page. It’s pretty rare to find a web search that only turns up two pages!

However, the Becta reference to the “July 2008 Hannigan timeline” also produces the same trick!

There is an interim Hannigan report of December 2007, from the Cabinet Office, which barely mentions education: “The Department for Children, Schools and Families has reminded all staff about their data and information security responsibilities” (page 7), and err, that’s it. The interim report promises a further Hannigan Report in “Spring 2008”, so I guess it is just around the corner.

So, if anybody from Becta is reading, help! Let us all into the secret info we need to be able to manage information security in schools!

I’ll keep you updated – sometime in the next 14 days it looks like there’s a stringent set of data protection rules coming. Ever since I wrote the blog item last week, there's been a daily story in the news of government data and information being lost, so I guess it'll be on quite a few priority lists now!

Update One: Alan Richards has been asking Becta too, and he's had a partial answer - which he shares on his blog. In a nutshell, the Hannigan letters that you're asked to comply with haven't yet been published, but Becta will provide a link when they are.