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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By GeorgeOrwell on 12/18/2007 10:01:35 PM , Rating: 1
Say the US goes to the national ID system. Then 30M - 50M identities get stolen in a similar fashion.

The problems that will arise from this theft will have a significant negative impact on the economy.

It may mean a large number of people cannot get jobs. Or get fired from their existing job. Cannot buy cars, houses, or obtain credit.

And that will be just the beginning of the problems as this is the "first wave". Future waves will be many many people turning to crime and underground economies to make ends meet. Maybe a lot of these people will simply come back to the US as Mexican immigrants with new identities.

Most importantly, it is really unclear with the "better than citizen" treatment of illegal immigrants what any sort of official ID is good for anyway. An official ID, at least today, comes with far more downside than upside.

For instance, instead of an official US ID, if you have a matricula consular card, you can open a bank account, get insurance, buy a car, etc. Everything that matters in the US is available to illegal immigrants. Except you can also get no documentation small business loans of up to $50K (unavailable to citizens), free medical care, free school, food vouchers, etc. All without the obligation of paying social security, taxes, etc.

All in all, as the US spirals into the dirt, it looks like the monkeys running the show are greedier and dumber than ever: a true idiocracy.

But maybe the dumbest of the dumb are the citizens themselves, the suckers that continue to pay taxes even though they get nothing in return.

By TomZ on 12/19/2007 9:02:57 AM , Rating: 1
But maybe the dumbest of the dumb are the citizens themselves, the suckers that continue to pay taxes even though they get nothing in return.

Last time I checked, paying taxes wasn't considered optional. Well, technically it is optional if you don't mind spending time in jail that is.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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