SpAd’s Unrecorded Private Email Network Includes Ministers

While we are on the subject of controversal email practice,  it is worth noting that the use of personal email accounts to avoid the eyes, and ham-fists, of civil servants is not confined to one department. The rules in the Special Adviser’s code state that party political activity must not be done on government resources, Andy Coulson used to remind SpAds of this when they were appointed to their jobs, telling them to use their own private emails. Guido understands that government Ministers Oliver Letwin and Frankie Maude prefer to use Google’s G-Mail rather than the government network. When it was broached with Frankie that there were security issues about this, Maude is said to have quipped that he’s the Minister for Transparency so it didn’t matter…

Steve Hilton is said to be a big fan of instant messaging on Skype, and Cameron still has his Yahoo mail, though he prefers to text message MPs, which isn’t always as private or secure as one might hope.  Downing Street information security protocols do not allow the use of webmail on official computers, hence the common sight of double-BlackBerry wielding SpAds and ministers. It also assists Ministers and SpAds who want to outwit backward looking civil servants resistant to change – a big problem in the Education Department…



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