Lost BBC hack’s mobile phone classic BYOD mistake

Calls for quasi-governmental organisation to introduce MDM

robinson - seriously endangered PM

It’s about as classic a mistake in the failure to implement a proper BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] roll-out as you could possibly imagine. The BBC (a British news service which all UK citizens are forced to pay for) has conceded that one of its key hacks – Political Editor, Nick Robinson, has mislaid his mobile phone. The device contained the mobile numbers for “most of the Cabinet”; Downing Street officials; and key civil servants. That included the British Prime Minister’s number, too. So a major security leak. It appears that the BBC doesn’t have a proper BYOD  policy in place. This will result in calls for the quasi-governmental organisation to introduce a proper MDM [Mobile Device Management] scheme.

For starters, it turns out that Robinson tried to play down the loss ( it’s not known if the phone was stolen or mislaid), by telling other news organisations, “It was weeks ago and it’s all over.”

He apparently only told a few key contacts about the loss at the time.

According to a report in the Daily Mail here, the loss of the government contacts is being investigated by the data watchdog, the Information Commissioner.

Of course, if the BBC had implemented a working MDM system, there would have been no threat to security.

All Mr Robinson would have needed to do is make one call to the organisation’s IT department and the entire contents of the mobile phone – not merely telephone numbers, could have been wiped remotely.

He wouldn’t even have had to remember what his own mobile phone’s telephone number was.

This isn’t the first time that Mr Robinson’s lack of technical prowess with mobile devices has been revealed.

During one discussion on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, Queen’s (the rock band’s not Her Majesty’s) Fat Bottom Girls track blared out of his iPad.

It’s blatant that the BBC’s IT department does little to enforce proper usage of IT & comms devices.

Knowing the UK establishment, the whole thing will be swept under a suitable carpet.

Robinson should resign for placing the PM in danger. If you know somebody’s mobile phone number, it’s painfully easy to determine their exact location.

See ‘French provide geolocation capability to Gaddafi spies‘.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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