By John Leyden
20th August 2008
UK government departments have managed to leak a total of 29 million
personal records over a single year.
In addition to the 25 million records spilled in the infamous lost child
benefit CDs debacle, another four million records went astray in other
stuff-ups, some of which have previously gone unreported.
Since the HMRC data loss fiasco, Whitehall departments have begun to
include data of information leaks as part of their annual financial
statements. An analysis of these figures by the BBC revealed that
personal information disclosures across UK government departments,
excluding information on the lost child benefit CDs, averaged 300,000
records a month in the year up until April 2008 (the end of the UK tax
The loss of three million records of driving-test candidates by the
Department of Transport in May 2007 makes up the bulk of these figures.
The disappearance of an unencrypted laptop containing 620,000 personal
records, including sensitive financial information such as bank account
and National Insurance numbers, by the Ministry of Defence in January
was another big contributor to the running count.
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