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MoD Laptop Stolen: 600,000 Armed Forces Records Lost

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  • MoD Laptop Stolen: 600,000 Armed Forces Records Lost

    Wow, Britain sure develops an alarming history of such thefts/errors lately (medical data files in the bin, anyone?).

    Actually, theyre *not* lost, thats the real problem, someone now *has* them, just not the DoD... Al Quaeda behind it maybe? Starting the inevitable cyber war by robbing all those bank accounts?

    Anyway, I am sure, the guy who left it behind will experience the meaning of the phrase "career bump" the really hard way...

    Just in case, check the tel# at the bottom for advice/sharing info, thanks. R.


    SOURCE: Armed Forces International (got it right first time this time , R.)
    DATE: "Previously", retrieved JAN 22, 2008

    MoD Laptop Stolen: 600,000 Armed Forces Records Lost

    It emerged on the 18th January that a laptop containing the details of 600,000 people has been stolen. The data saved on it related to present members of the British armed forces – specifically the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Royal Marines – as well as those interested in joining one of the forces, and included bank details, passport and National Insurance numbers.

    In light of this significant data loss, the Ministry of Defence will now be scrutinised by the information watchdog, while Des Browne, the UK Defence Secretary, is set to address the House of Commons in coming days.

    According to Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, the incident stood as "a stark illustration of the potency of personal information in a database world.”

    He added: “We will require satisfactory answers from the MoD about their data protection practices and a firm assurance that steps have been taken to improve these practices before deciding on the appropriate action to take."
    MoD Laptop Stolen from Parked Vehicle

    It is understood that the police were first notified of the laptop theft ten days ago. The vehicle which it was taken from was parked in the area of Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.

    "The information held is not the same for every individual," the MoD stated. "In some cases, for casual enquiries, the record is no more than a name. But for those who progressed as far as submitting an application to join the Forces, extensive personal data may be held, including passport details, National Insurance numbers, drivers' licence details, family details, doctors' addresses and National Health Service numbers."

    Subsequently, the ministry added, it was now getting in contact with the 3,500 people whose bank details were contained on the laptop. Furthermore, it said, it was collaborating with the Association for Payment Clearing Services in order to notify the banks concerned, and make sure that the accounts in question are "flagged for scrutiny against unauthorised access.”

    MoD Data Loss Follows Nov 2007 Child Benefit Records Scandal

    In November 2007, the news broke that 25 million child benefit records had gone missing. The information was contained on a pair of discs that had been sent by HM Revenue and Customs to the National Audit Office.

    A number of high profile figures have commented on this latest data loss – among them, Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Fox commented: "It's just been too easy for data to go missing recently and we need to look at how to protect the details of the public."

    Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, Nick Harvey, meanwhile, highlighted how the episode was more evidence of the dangers of introducing a nationwide Identity Card scheme. "If anybody is entertaining lingering support for the idea... surely this would worry anybody into realising that you cannot trust any system you invent to store this much data in one place", he asserted.

    Finally, the British Armed Forces Federation’s Douglas Young described the situation as “very, very worrying” and urged for a “top level investigation” to consequently take place.

    Anybody seeking further advice is encouraged to email [email protected].

    Anybody, meanwhile, in possession of information relating to the theft is asked to get in touch with West Midlands Police: telephone number – 0845 113 5000. Rings a bell somehow...

  • #2
    Is it me or does the Guvmint seem to have too many laptops running around with sensitive data?