With the many highly publicised data losses that have occurred over recent months, from names of prison guards to BNP members being revealed inadvertently, public confidence in the security systems and policies used by government and others has come under increasing scrutiny.

Whether losses have come about from deliberate criminal activity, such as the stealing of Sarah Palin's email account log-in details, or from accidents, like Ministry of Defence laptops being left on trains, the result has been not only a loss of public confidence but navel gazing from public institutions and private enterprise. But is what is being done really enough?

BCS already publishes extensively in this space, check out Information Security Now, the magazine published with the Information Security Specialist Group; whitelist, the BCS security podcast, and www.bcs.org/security for feature and news content for more details.

Video debate

However, BCS has also recently published a fascinating video on this very subject. Themed 'Data security and public confidence' the round table discussion included Louise Bennet, chairman of the BCS Security Forum; Rik Ferguson, security expert from Trend Micro; and Hamid Jahankhani from the University of East London.

Amongst the subjects covered are whether more draconian measures should be enforced on desktops in the workplace. Should people be allowed to freely use USB devices and the like? Is the legislative framework right?

What are the implications for the move to so-called cloud computing? And what responsibility should we take as individuals - should we be educating ourselves more fully, or is there more responsibility on internet service providers and software and hardware producers to make security easy?

Another contentious area covered is the question of who in the public sector should have access to your data. And if they do something inappropriate who really should be held accountable.

Would it help public confidence if higher profile heads rolled when there was wrongdoing or gross incompetence, rather than a lowly scapegoat in the civil service, as has happened in the past?

To see the full video debate, which is also split into separate chapters, please visit: www.bcs.org/video. There is also an archive of previous debates.