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Revenue and Customs in records blunder

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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.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • BarryWhyte

    I saw that last night on the BBC. Scarry stuff. The other report I heard said it was ‘lost in the post’ by you know who!

    It was said to be encrypted, but we all know that that means nothing if somebody really wants into the data.

    Lets hope it doesn’t end up in the hands of some telesales company… even more junk calls!

  • Daveo

    Interesting that they blame a junior official! How junior can that official be – Kinder Garden

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