UK Government Leaks Data on Half The Country

Another day. Another data leak. Another round of buck passing. Another round of unsubstantiated claims that they really do care about people's personal information.

This one is a doozy though. A junior IT admin at Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (the UK tax office) apparently put personal data on 25 million people on a disk and sent it by bicycle courier to a different office. The courier managed to lose (or sell?) it in transit. In other words, this guy took names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, birth dates, and national ID numbers, of over 40% of the UK population, and sent it by bicycle courier. What complete moron could ever consider that to be a good idea?

Words absolutely fail me. It is reckless beyond belief, and the fact that it is the third time makes it sound like a poorly thought-out television farce script. This is such a monumental breach of trust that it really is impossible to describe. Alice Miles did as good job of it as anyone can. The only thing I can add is that I sure hope there will be prison time to serve for this, but, alas, facilitating identity theft against half the country is apparently not a crime in the UK.

Oh, one more thing: guess who ends up paying the clean-up costs when governments fail to protect their citizens?

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