Tuesday, 18 December 2007

More UK data losses

Answer the following question.
To get a position in the UK government you need:

a) a degree
b) to be patriotic and dedicated to your country
c) a sexual perversion
d) to be good at apologising
If you answered d), give yourself a pat on the back. If you managed to pat yourself on the back, give yourself a hug monkey-boy. Actually, any of the above are acceptable, except a), which is most definitely not a requirement.

Yes, Our Illustrious Leaders have gone and done it again. It seems like only a few days ago I was crying with laughter, safe in a Paris hotel, as the home secretary apologised to the nation for losing, oh, I don't know, millions of people's tax details. Oh, hang on, it WAS only a few days ago.

This week the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) has lost, oh, a few million drivers details. The former was on CDs, I cringed a bit between gasps for air and thought that actually, it was just embarrassing, anyone could lose a CD with millions of people's personal records on. Err...? If anyone HAD a CD with millions of people's personal records on that is. Why was this ever out of the building?

This time it was 2 hard drives. How do you go about losing a hard drive? And how do you lose 2? Again, WHY was this ever out of the building, or the computer?

And in either case, why wasn't the data encrypted? I know I'm a bit of an encryption nut, I work for an encryption company, have worked for or with every encryption company under the sun (except NeoScale of course, that one wasn't my fault) and would encrypt my underpants to stop unauthorised people seeing my private details. But maybe that's because I realise how important it is when I'm carrying something so sensitive?

Now, who would want the details on my laptop? A competitor would, for sure. Are the government so blind as they think they don't have any competitors or people who could benefit from their information?

To be honest, I'm waiting for the call from Downing Street:

Gordon Brown:"We've been losing quite a lot of information recently and it's making me look like a bit of a prat who can't control what's going on under his own nose"
Your Humble Author:"Oh, I wouldn't say that"
GB:"Yes, it does, although that's very kind of you to say so. You're very tall and handsome by the way"
YHA:"Thanks, but I'm happily married"
GB:"Oh. Well, what about this data thing? Can you stop people losing it all the time?"
YHA:"No, but I can stop them using it."
GB:"How do you do that?"
YHA:"Easy Mr. B, you encrypt it."
GB:"Hallelujah, you are a god-like genius, have a job and some money."
YHA:"No thanks Prime Minister, I'm doing it for my country, and I don't want to work for you."
Well, maybe that's what'll happen?

[Unrelated side note which just came to mind: Last week the Regional Sales Manager was staying in the Paris Hilton. That ought to get me a few more page hits.]

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