B.C. Government Called Out for Weak Mobile Device Management Practices

    Nov 08, 2016

    Calling the British Columbia government’s policies and practices on mobile device use by employees “confusing and sometimes contradictory,” Acting Information and Privacy Commissioner Drew McArthur recently released a report calling for device security training changes and undated policies, among other recommendations.

    The October report is based on an investigation of five ministries, conducted concurrently with an audit by the Office of the Auditor General, to examine whether the management of smartphones, tablet computers, and other devices that use mobile-specific operating systems meets the government’s responsibilities under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. “Investigators found that the numerous government policies related to mobile device use were confusing and sometimes contradictory,” the Office of the Information Privacy Commissioner stated in a press release announcing the release of the report. “They also noted that, in some ministries, those responsible for privacy compliance were not adequately empowered to implement and monitor technical controls. Additionally, government did not maintain an accurate inventory of mobile devices and the personal information stored on them.”

    The report recommends clarifying, documenting and effectively communicating responsibility for privacy and security management of mobile devices to all responsible parties; empowering privacy officers and ensuring the availability of adequate resources in each government ministry; offering mobile device privacy and security training for government employees on an ongoing basis; and ensuring that government employees understand the importance of not using applications on government devices that may store personal information outside of Canada.

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