Ex-employee of ‘sensitive government organisation’ in court accused of taking top secret data home

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A former employee of a “sensitive government organisation” has appeared in court after allegedly risking national security by taking top secret data home.

Hasaan Arshad is charged with an offence under the Computer Misuse Act after an investigation led by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

He spoke at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, only to confirm his name, date of birth and address in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

The court heard the 23-year-old had been employed by a “sensitive government organisation” before his arrest on 22 September last year.

Prosecutors allege that before leaving his job on 24 August, he took his work mobile phone into a top secret area and connected the device to a top secret workstation.

He is said to have transferred sensitive data from a secure computer to the phone before taking it home.

Arshad allegedly transferred the data from the work mobile phone to a hard drive connected to his personal home computer.

“Top secret” is the classification for the government’s most sensitive information, where compromise might cause widespread loss of life or threaten the security or economic wellbeing of the country or friendly nations, according to Ministry of Justice security guidance.

Arshad was not asked to enter a plea to a single charge under Section 3ZA of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 relating to “unauthorised acts causing, or creating risk of, serious damage”.

Arshad was granted conditional bail ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey on 5 May.

In the meantime he must live and sleep at his home address, must not leave or attempt to leave the UK mainland, and must notify the police of any internet-enabled device in his possession.

He is also banned from using anonymous internet browsing tools including VPN and Onion routing, or accessing darknet systems such as Tor.

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