British government loses cd-roms
The British government has lost two cd-roms containing personal information of 25.000.000 British inhabitants. The cd-roms included child benefit data like: names, ages, adresses and bank account numbers.
The reason behind the incident is not clear. Staff members of the responsible departments claimed in e-mails to the BBC that the problem is related to the merger of the Revenue and Customs departments. The direct cause for the situation was however the fact that the entire child benefit database was sent by a junior official from HMRC in Washington, Tyne and Wear, to the audit office in London through courier TNT on 18 October by unrecorded delivery. A delivery which did not arrive and of which no-one can prove that it has ever been handed over to TNT in order to deliver. Minister Darling said he “deeply regretted” what had happened, but emphasized also that there are no indications that the records have found their way into the wrong hands. All British inhabitants are however urged by both the chancellor and banks to keep a close eye on their accounts “for unusual activity”.
The chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Darling, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown learned about the situation on 10 November 2007. Then why didn’t they bring this news earlier in public? Because banks and building societies had asked for time to prepare and make sure security procedures were in place.
Published: 21 November 2007 by Edward Brüheim