Unencrypted laptop violates UK privacy law
Outlaw.com has a report that starts by saying:
"Manchester City Council broke the Data Protection Act when it failed to encrypt laptop computers containing data on nearly two thousand workers. The local authority has promised to ensure all mobile computers are encrypted.
Two laptops were stolen from Manchester's Town Hall. The machines were unencrypted and carried the personal details of 1,754 school workers, privacy regulator the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said."
Privacy commissioners in various jurisdictions generally take the view that personal information contained on laptops and other portable devices should be encrypted. Privacy legislation generally doesn't specifically say that - the position is based on obligations to keep the data secure.
Encyrption is often not done either because no one thinks of it, or because its a nuisance - but that's just inviting customer and privacy commissioner wrath if the device goes missing.