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UK Government Data Breach Causes Major Turmoil

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The loss of disks containing the personal information of approximately 25 million UK citizens first came to NAID’s attention in an article by Patrick Wintour appearing November 21, 2007 in The Guardian. The article reports that a junior official of HM Revenue and Customs sent the disks by regular mail from one division to another, which is when they disappeared. Sending such personal information in this manner completely violates the policy of the agency. Despite a desperate investigation involving many departments, the discs have yet to be found.

According to this article and dozens which have surfaced since, the incident has set the government on its ear. Initially, there were strong and concerns that the announcement would cause a run on the banks. The contentious issue of establishing a national identity card system is now seen as impossible to push through. Additionally, Revenue & Customs chief, Sir Paul Gray, has resigned because of the incident.

Further, the UK’s Information Commissioner Richard Thomas (pictured) is using the incident to bolster his already stated goal of seeking much stronger enforcement powers for his office, and even suggesting that those responsible for negligently putting other’s information at risk, such as with the loss of a laptop computer, should be fined and incarcerated.

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Below are links to follow up articles.