Monday, 14 January 2008

Data loss pandemic sweeps UK

There have been a few very high profile cases of data loss in the UK in the last couple of months. Most notable amongst these was the Inland Revenue losing millions of customer details on 2 CDs, which they blamed on 'a junior member of staff'. Isn't it always?

Anyone watching our government from overseas might be forgiven therefore for assuming that the British Isles is full of Benny Hill characters walking into lampposts, hitting each other with bits of wood and generally pratfalling all over the shop. So, it would be hilarious then if, say, the chairman of one of the biggest banks (if not the biggest) in the UK had his ID stolen because his bank account was breached? That would never happen of course...

Barclays chairman loses £10,000 in ID fraud scam

Oh dear. Well, at least the insurance will cover it, right? Except I've got a feeling premiums might be going up:

Customer bank records found on motorway

Hang on, 'found' I understand, 'customer records' I am familiar with, but I've never seen them used in the same sentence as 'motorway' before. What?!?

In all seriousness however, this kind of thing has probably been happening for years, but it's just fashionable in the press right now. Keeps me busy.

What is especially notable in these cases is that they are different data security issues, but to prevent them would take very similar measures. The first, as is often the case, is down to policy and educating staff, the second could have been fixed with just a little bit of thought, but also policy and education.

I normally hate the media because they make everything so depressing (war and famine sell newspapers after all), vacuous (Paris Hilton), immoral (sex also sells) and pointless (what IS reality TV?). We need to make sure everyone is thinking data-centrically however, and for once, I'm actually in favour of them splashing these horror stories across the front pages.

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