The Revenue and Customs (IRS equivalent) in the UK have managed to lose two CDs containing the details of 25 million UK citizens (adults and children) who claim child benefit. For those who don’t know, Child Benefit is an allowance paid to all children in the UK irrespective of their parents’ income. This means the data lost effectively covers every child in the UK and their parents who are responsible for them.
There have been lots of data loss issues reported in the last year, mostly within large corporations. What amazes me is that systems are designed to allow a single individual to export so much sensitive data in one download and to be able to put this data onto a CD. Even if a “Junior Official” had broken the rules, its about time systems were designed to prevent data exports like this to happen in the first place.
Systems must be designed to be “closed loops” with data being exported only to other secure systems across secure links, rather than relying on sending CDs in the post. Our own government should be setting the standard for industry. Unfortunately this will just become another reason to mistrust the tax man.