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31. HM Revenue and Customs has taken a number of steps to strengthen its data security arrangements since the recent data loss. It is co-operating fully with the external reviews, including the review by Kieran Poynter, and other investigations looking at the specifics of the incident, as well as wider data security issues. Recommendations emanating from these studies are likely to cover security management standards and data handling. Specific actions already taken include the appointment of a senior official, Director of Data Security, and the appointment of Data Guardians to all areas within HMRC. Key principles for data handling and security have been revised in a new set of operating standards and guidance for all staff. Improvements and controls have been put in place regarding removable media and its transfer — including restrictions on personal computers to prevent download to removable media. Longer term strategic solutions to data security are being discussed, including the use of electronic data transfers, which would lead to a reduced usage of removable media. HM Treasury is enhancing its own staff education and training in security backed by senior management leadership and increased emphasis on compliance.

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