While judicial use of IT is strictly regulated, and sending emails from official accounts is only prescribed, an unnamed British judge has used personal accounts at public email services to send a draft and a final ruling, as The Register have found out.
The rulings contained sensitive information, so the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office received a complaint about the incident.
As The Register state, the judge used two different personal accounts. The draft one was sent from the domain “owned by his son” and the final one from an “account associated with iCloud.”
The complaint is being investigated by two UK institutions. “A complaint has been raised with the UK’s Judicial Conduct Investigations Office regarding the security practises, and Blighty’s data protection watchdog: the Information Commissioner’s Office,” The Register report.
Use of a private email must be rare, as the guidance for securing government email proscribes such a practice.
An automated receipt to an email received by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HCTS) reads, as quoted by The Register: “Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message by e-mail.”
An anonymous reader has left a comment on The Register’s report: “Around here I’ve often seen people use free ‘cloud’ accounts such as OneDrive or GoogleDrive to, erm, ‘backup’ proprietary information sometimes, including thing as sensitive as patients details… despite very explicit and repeated instructions to not do that under any circumstances.”
Chris Vickery, a cyber risk analyst at Upguard, specializes on confidential data exposed to public on clouds. In April this year, we reported on one of his findings, an unprotected loan application database left at Amazon by Scottrade, an online brokerage.
In June, we wrote about another discovery made by Vickery: the data uploaded on Amazon by a contractor of the US National Space-Intelligence Agency.