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Print 28 comment(s) - last by littlebitstrou.. on Dec 19 at 10:27 AM

Whoops! They did it again -- Britain's government looses millions of more people's personal records.

The UK government is making a run at the record books, but not a very positive one.  Britain's government, plagued by bureaucratic fumblings, is setting new records in how many citizens' personal data one country can manage to lose.  Last month there was news of a record setting loss of 25 million citizen's records, which were sent in the mail by CD and mysteriously vanished.  "Catch Me If You Can" criminal legend Frank Abagnale publicly suggested that someone had purposefully plotted to steal the data, which included bank records, and succeeded -- due to Britain's lax security.

Now the UK officials are twiddling their thumbs and awkwardly trying to put a positive spin on the latest shocking development; they have managed to lose another 3 million citizens' data.

Britain's bureaucratic system electronically stores records for learner drivers, including information on their vehicle, name, address, and other personal information.  Much of this information was privately contracted for storage to a facility in Iowa, in the United States.  This facility revealed to government officials in May that it had lost a single hard disk, which contained over 3 million records.  The UK's Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, in turn, sat on this information and did not reveal it to Britain's Parliament until this week.

She issued a short public apology, referencing fears of possible identity theft that the victims of this latest bumble may endure, saying, "I apologize for any uncertainty or concern that these individuals may experience."

Fortunately no banking or credit card info is included in the records, however, a malicious party could use the information to apply for credit cards and commit identity theft on a massive scale.

The loss is seen in Britain as another major embarrassment to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the Labor Party (LP), who are struggling with public antipathy.  The Conservative party is seizing the issue as a further means to attack the struggling LP and build a lead into coming elections.

Security remains an increasingly hot topic, as everyone from nuclear plant officials to everyday citizens continue to show a lack of savvy for protecting themselves online.  Between lax data and network management procedures at government and business facilities, to users giving up personal information for an abstract sense of "trust", the greatest threat to public and government security is not some malicious hacker, but the users and officials themselves. 

Britain is seeing the catastrophic consequences of this ignorance, but it is unlikely to be alone as users struggle to separate real threats from fiction and safeguard themselves in the 21st century digital world.



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RE: Something New
By Grast on 12/18/2007 11:17:03 AM , Rating: 2
I agree this type of information need to be handled in a more secure manor. I believe all personal data should be handled the same way all other clasified information is handled in the military and security agencies.

If a database does exist, security has to be based on a need to know. A department must exist which is their sole job to determine if someone really needs to know. Additionally, all access to this databased should be strictly controlled via similar processes.

I once followed the package carrier across 8 states due to the carrier shipping a production server full of customer data from one datacenter to another. The amount and type of data was considered so important. That once it left the protection of the datacenter. A employee had to keep it in sight or under lock and key until delifered to its final destination.

Losing data in the mail is stupid. The entire IT department for the British government should be layed off and told to find new professions. They obviously do not value their jobs.

Later....


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