“Idiots. Utter, unbelievable, jaw-dropping, unpardonable idiots. It is beyond farce, past comprehension, criminally irresponsible and beneath contempt.
“All those lectures from government and authorities about keeping our personal data safe; every statement ever made about the security of the proposed NHS database of everybody’s personal medical records; each claim that the Children’s Database containing all their personal details will somehow make our kids safer; and of course each and every promise about the safety of the national identity register — exposed as quite, quite worthless. Because as soon as you put it on a computer, a bloke in an office can download it and stick it in an envelope and send your most personal details and mine and our children’s across the country with a dodgy courier.“It is shocking, it is risible, it is hilarious. Someone gave a disc containing confidential data about 25 million people to a bloke on a bike? And he lost it?”
In Second-class and lost in the post (London Times, 11/21/07), columnist Alice Miles details how the UK government lost two computer discs containing the personal information of all families in the UK with a child under 16. The disks contain Child Benefit data which includes the name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, bank details of 25 million people.
I’m sure there will soon be a well-deserved, Night of the Long Knives-style purge of those connected to the scandal. Perhaps the axed employees can get jobs working for child support enforcement agencies–given the agencies’ relentless bureaucratic bungling, they’d fit right in.Miles’ column can be seen here.