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I spy with my beady eye ...

21 Nov 2007

One in two Brits at risk of identity theft, admits HM Government

After two CD-ROMs containing personal data on 25 million Brits from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs office failed to arrive at the National Audit office, questions were asked in Parliament. Yes, AFTER the event.

Both the BBC and the Grauniad report on the "gasps of astonishment" from MPs when told of the incident. Given the British tendency for understatement, this is about as close as you'll get to a public expression of outrage.

The officials who posted the CD-ROMs evidently did not "follow procedures". If the data hadn't been going to the auditors, there is a very good chance we would never have heard about this incident ... but I can't help asking whether the NAO would have created a stink if the CDs had simply turned up in the ordinary post, instead of being send by a secure courier. I'd be willing to bet that all sorts of juicy stuff turns up in their mail and email every day, but I can't recall seeing them jumping up and down about the risk.

Whether Chancellor Alistair Darling swings for this is presumably in Her Majesty's hands. I believe the death sentence is still on the cards for treason in the UK. Now that's what I call accountability.


  1. Rather astonising in this day and age that data transfer was by means of CD, rather than an online connection between two government departments. Information society? Doesn't look like it to me.


  2. Apparently you can't get hung for treason anymore...