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Darling says 25m records 'lost'

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posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 09:53 AM

Darling says 25m records 'lost'

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.

Mr Darling said it was "an extremely serious failure".

The banks have said the missing data is not enough to access accounts on its own and there is no evidence of fraud.

The chairman of Revenue and Customs, Paul Gray, resigned earlier.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 09:53 AM
25Million peoples records Lost?
if this has fallen into wrong hands it has the pottential for the largest ID farud in history

(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:10 AM
Problem -> confidential data is easy to lose, criminals and terrorists will use this stolen data against you.

Solution -> implement draconian ID card scheme coupled to a national/international biometric database with total data awareness and intergovernmental sharing to prevent this from happening again.

Cynical? Paranoid? Reality?

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:12 AM
The shocking thing is they have known for the better part of 10 days and not breathed a word. Only when called out my the Conservatives, who got wind of a rumour that something was wrong at HMRC, did they admit to it.

10 days!

With that info, 10 days is too long to wait before informing people.

I also wonder if people will have a case against the Government for breach of the DPA?

That could cause a few headaches.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:23 AM
Good call Stu

Its a material breach of the Data Protection Act. Imagine 25 million lawsuits

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:29 AM
reply to post by stumason

the worst part is the person incharge also lost 15 thousend data on people
a few weeks ago and then appoligised for that.

then again this could be the goverments way of showing that introducing bimoetric security and such is required.
such As ID cards

but with the goverments track record how easily could fraudsters fraud a ID card from stolen data?

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:29 AM
The Inland Revenue, DWP, NAO etc all have very clear internal guidelines regarding the transfer of information from one department to another. These protocols aren't optional. They're laid down in stone and have been since the late 1980's when computerisation was introduced to most government agencies. Civil Servants, me included, have data protection rules & regulations drummed into us all the time at work.

To be fair to the government, it isn't really their fault. It could have happened under any government no matter its political persuasion. In this case an individual civil servant decided to pop data discs into the courier mail from HMRC to the NAO. Unbelievable stupidity. It goes against just about everything in the rule book ever written. It is the most staggering display of incompetence by one individual I've ever seen.

Let's just hope the discs don't get into the wrong hands.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 10:41 AM
Well just a correction, I think the largest ID thef/breech occured in the TJ Maxx case, which I think exposed some 90 + million credit and debit cards (final count) to malicious hackers.

Either way, I think waiting on the release of this data for 10 days is criminal. The people exposed had a right to know the minute the error was noticed.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:09 AM

The data was sent on October 18 and senior management at HMRC were told it was missing on November 8 and the Chancellor on November 10, said Mr Darling.

So, they have lost it over a MONTH ago? And then it took 3 weeks to tell the Chancellor, who then took 10 days to tell us?

What the eff? Seriously, this Government needs to go. It's one thing after another. Brown has shown he hasn't a clue in running the country, it's just been 5 months of debacle after debacle....

  1. Flooding - Poor management of..
  2. Northern Rock - £24 Billion loaned to the Bank with no actual way of paying it back
  3. Immigration - No idea how many illegals are here and the numbers deported have dropped. Not to mention the fact we're flooded with Eastern Europeans anyway...
  4. This complete balls up...
  5. I'm sure there is more but I can't think of them right now, they just make me so angry.

And he wants to hang on for another 2 years?

At this rate, there won't be a country in 2 years...

At least after this, the chances of them getting the National DNA database and ID cards through Parliament is bugger all.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 11:40 AM

Originally posted by neformore
Its a material breach of the Data Protection Act. Imagine 25 million lawsuits

Excellent idea...

...power to the people!

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 12:17 PM
Ya know, I remember the good old days when I could go out and use cash for purchases and as a result had little or no junk mail and email spamming was yet to become the pain in the arse it now is.

In those days, we had identity theft and falsification of documents but singly or a few at a time. It's only since we started having our details stored on untold numbers of databases that this ID theft issue has spiraled out of control.
They tell us we need to provide all our information which will be stored safely and securely in order to beat the criminals, but this latest incident just blows away all ideas of safe data. Haven't these buggers ever heard of encryption for heavens sake?

The more databases my details appear on, the more chance there is of that data being misused and I find it unacceptable that marketing companies are allowed to store data on me, let alone sell it to other entities. If the government cannot even adequately protect data it holds on me then why should I entrust them with anything.

Stop the world, I wanna get off

[edit on 20-11-2007 by Britguy]

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 01:06 PM
Chances are it's sitting either in some post bag at the HMRC or some worker at the TNT courier hasn't recorded it and then forgot about it. It's not likely (at this stage, anyway) that it's fallen into unsavoury hands.

However, the fact that this has happened in the first place is just amazing. Niall197, is there any conceivable reason why the civil servant who lost the disc broke the procedures in place?

I sincerely hope this is the death knell of ID Cards. We don't need an intrusive, dangerous and costly system.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 01:42 PM
reply to post by Ste2652

Well I can only go on personal experience from when I was employed by the old DSS. Early 1990's computer discs were always transported by DSS officials by hand & in DSS cars. Everything was signed for. Computer discs with personal data simply never ever went through the internal mail system (which at that point was run by the DSS and not TNT).

I remember once hearing a story about a guy on such a mission, travelling between Glasgow & Edinburgh on the M8 motorway. The discs were locked in a safe in the car boot (trunk) but unfortunately he got a puncture halfway through his journey. His standing instructions were to -

1. Call the Police to come immediately to his position and -
2. Call HQ, who would arrange another vehicle

So what does he do ? Against instructions he decides to change the wheel himself. And unknown to him the car was fitted with an anti tilt mechanism which activated a magnetic device inside the safe, destroyed the discs and produced a vast amount of smoke in the process. He got a severe dressing down for that - because he broke all the rules going.

But, like everything else, that system wasn't thought to be particularly "efficient". You've got employees spending their days scuttling between offices carrying discs when they could be better employed processing benefit claims and such like. You know the kinda stuff, usual Daily Mail stories about civil servants bleeding us all dry n'all.

And you've got Departments where spending is so tight you're actively discouraged from using specialist couriers - or even from using registered post. You've also got civil servants who haven't been trained for the work they do ... because there's so little money available to do it. A lot of people nowadays learn the job from the guy/gal theyre replacing. Money is even so tight I had to recently write a minute to our management to justify the purchase of 48 packets of yellow post-it notes. It's ridiculous.

Combine that with the loss of 40,000 civil servants over the last 2 years and the increased pressure on those who remain and it's hardly surprising mistakes are being made. I guess you can blame Brown for that one.

But this mistake is surely is the biggest I've ever since in a long while.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 01:52 PM

Originally posted by Ste2652
Chances are it's sitting either in some post bag at the HMRC or some worker at the TNT courier hasn't recorded it and then forgot about it. It's not likely (at this stage, anyway) that it's fallen into unsavoury hands.

I bloody well hope so - all my details are on those disks. Fair enough they cannot access my bank account - not for withdrawals and they are more than welcome to deposit what they like
but more importantly to me is that they have my childs name and address. However miniscule the threat it still tweaks my maternal instinct and I hope that someone gets spanked for it.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 02:46 PM
There was a major security blunder earlier in the year when visa applications were open to public scrutiny. That time it was caused by the Foreign Office.
See link:

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 02:48 PM
Don't blame Gordon Brown for this. He's very busy trying to get a total ban on plastic bags so he can save the planet.

posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 03:05 PM
reply to post by KilgoreTrout

I'd be surprised if it turned up anywhere else, to be honest. Remember that this wasn't sent through either registered or recorded postage... how many millions of items of ordinary post go missing each year, I wonder? I bet it's quite a lot. We now have a complete right to complain about the 'bloody postal service'! But it isn't Royal Mail this time.

Apparently they waited ten days before telling the public because the banks wanted time to prepare (and I understand their nervousness after Northern Rock).

So I'm hesitant to blame Gordon Brown, Alastair Darling, the Government or HMRC specifically for this because it isn't their fault. It seems like it was a civil servant who didn't follow the rules. In my opinion, Darling shouldn't resign/be sacked.

posted on Nov, 21 2007 @ 10:54 AM
Without wishing to underestimate the importance of this cock up in the slightest I do think we need to maintain a sense of proportion at the same time.

This was not Alistair Darling's fault, or Gordon Brown's or even that of the poor sod who resigned yesterday, it was the fault of the junior sprog who put data which was supposed to be transferred electronically into a jiffy bag and bunged it in the post, plus his departmental manager who allowed such a blatant breach of procedures to take place.

The good news is that in all probability the discs have fallen down the back of the filing cabinet in the post room which the post tray sits on and there will be an embarrassed cry of "panic over" in a couple of days.

Points to ponder:

1. What in the name of heaven did the National Audit Office want all that data for anyway?
2. What kind of disks do they use that can you get 25 million people's personal records on to just two of them, (I want some of those).
3. Most of the idiots bleating about this have their on line data "protected" by a three character password or the name of their eldest child and keep their PIN numbers on a scrap of paper in their handbags and they're complaining about the lack of data security!

[edit on 21-11-2007 by timeless test]

posted on Nov, 21 2007 @ 04:38 PM
the original request for information from the audit office was only for national insurance numbers and date of births,
senior custom and revenues officials denied this request stating it was to expensive to filter the data from the rest.

lo and behold all the personal information is sent to the the audit office on unencrypted cd's and lost, it is purely the result of money.

i know whats happening,they are trying to pass the blame on to the junior official,

dont believe it.

posted on Nov, 22 2007 @ 05:32 AM
There is nothing which is necessarily contrary to procedures in passing information to the National Audit Office even if they get more than they strictly require, the element of this fiasco which is worthy of criticism is the method by which the data was transferred and in the absence of any other information that does appear to have been the responsibility of the unnamed junior official.

What I find surprising and disingenuous is the sudden fervour which the Tories are displaying for NOT attempting to save public money.

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