Protecting Heathrow’s passengers

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Heathrow – Passnegrs go through security checks. What checks does the airport impose on itself?

This morning the Sunday Mirror carried a story of the discovery by an unemployed man of a USB stick containing documents about Heathrow’s security may be alarming for passengers.

Not only did the stick carry potentially important features that could aid terrorists, the documents on it were said to be unencrypted. So far, we haven’t been told precisely what was on the stick but the fact that all CCTV camera locations were listed suggests that it would be valuable. The story in the Mirror lists some of the other documents found on the stick and says that there were photographs as well.

The man handed the stick to the newspaper (why not the police?) who then publicised some of the data.

Responding to the newspaper, the Mirror quotes Heathrow as saying, ““We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure.”

Well I’m not.

What was this material doing out of the confines of Heathrow anyway? Why was it not encrypted? Who in the company would have access to all this sort of information in the first place? I’d be prepared to say that only a select group of people would have this knowledge and they should have been aware that the material was sensitive and should have been better protected. Could a hacker have gained the information?

Whatever the answer, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) should conduct an independent review to put passengers’ minds to rest.  So far, Heathrow has posted no statement on its website about the discovery.

If this was a data protection issue where privacy information was involved, the Information Commissioner could demand up to 4% of the company’s turnover as a fine. Potentially this is more serious yet what punishment will there be so that the airport looks after date securely?

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