Lost data (again)

Via Tim Worstall a revelation in The Telegraph that the data on the child benefit discs includes 350 people on the witness protection scheme and – helpfully – gives original names, new names, addresses &c.  An extra dimension to the original screw up.

If we recall, the government in its response to the House of Lords committee on internet security (which commented on here and here in the context of the benefit data issue) wrote,

We do not accept that the incidence of loss of personal data by companies is on an upward path and we do not accept that the Government is indifferent to the problem.”


The Government can therefore accept the spirit of the recommendation in that we must continue to deepen our understanding of the issue of personal internet security and what can be done to improve it, and indeed has taken some significant steps on this in recent years. We would not, however, accept the view of the Committee that the Government has taken a narrow view of this problem in the past. “

A review of this original response – the more that is revealed – indicates a high level of complacency.  For in relation to the matter of the witness protection information being on disc – it’s as Tim Worstall says,

“You know the problem with this? It’s not that the discs have been lost: it’s that this information is in the database at all. Given that we have a large number of junior civil servants who have access to the information, given the hunger of certain criminals to find out who had fingered them (or rather, find out where those who fingered them are) it’s simply insane that this information should be so easily available.”

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in benefit data, politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lost data (again)

  1. hoiho says:

    Given that the Prison Service is seemingly unaware of outstanding arrest warrants on prisoners in its charge, I don’t find it so surprising that HMRC don’t know who’s on the
    witness protection scheme.
    Of course, if all this information were to be centralised, say, on a National Identity Register, protected by the magical of biometrics….

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