Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HM&C lose disc with details of 25 million child benefit recipients

Things just get worse with personal data security by government.

"Alistair Darling has blamed mistakes by junior officials at HM Revenue and Customs after details of 25 million child benefit recipients were lost.

The Chancellor said information, including bank details of 7m families, had been sent on discs to the National Audit office by unrecorded delivery.

The discs had never arrived at their destination, Mr Darling told MPs.

He apologised for what he said was "an extremely serious failure" but insisted people were not at risk from ID fraud."

Oh look there's a flying pig! At least Richard Thomas is still talking sense, though the chances of Nu Labour paying any serious attention to his repeated calm and rational analysis of data protection issues in government is virtually negligible.

"Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said: "This is an extremely serious and disturbing security breach. This is not the first time that we have been made aware of breaches at the HM Revenue and Customs - we are already investigating two other breaches.

"Incidents like these illustrate that any system is only as good as its weakest link. The alarm bells must now ring in every organisation about the risks of not protecting people's personal information properly.

"As I highlighted earlier this year, it is imperative that organisations earn public trust and confidence by addressing security and other data protection safeguards with the utmost vigour."

Mr Thomas welcomed the Chancellor's announcement of an independent review of the incident by Kieran Poynter of PricewaterhouseCoopers and said he would decide on further action once he has received the report. "

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