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Laptop with key data stolen

It contains details of 600,000 applicants to Britain’s armed forces

LONDON: A laptop containing the personal details of 600,000 new and prospective military recruits has been stolen, the Ministry of Defence said on Friday – the latest in a series of government blunders over data.

“The stolen laptop contained personal information relating to some 600,000 people who have either expressed an interest in, or have joined, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force,”  the ministry said.

The bank details of 3,500 people were on laptop’s database.

The MoD said nothing until for fear of hampering an investigation were the theft to become public knowledge.

It comes less than two months after the personal details of 25 million people approaching half the British population, got lost in the post in a spectacular blunder by a junior official.

“The stolen laptop contained personal information relating to some 600,000 people who have either expressed an interest in, or have joined, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force,” the MoD said in a statement.

In some cases of casual enquiries, just the name was on record. However, for those who submitted applications to join the military, extensive personal data” could be held.

Such details could include passport and National Insurance numbers, driving license details doctors’ addresses and National Health Services numbers.

The theft is the latest of several incidents involving the loss of personal data, raising questions about how secure people’s details are in the hands of officials.

The Inland Revenue tax authorities admitted on Nov 21 last year to having lost two discs containing details relating to child benefit payments involving 25 million people.

On Dec 11, the names and addresses of 6,000 motorists in Northern Ireland went missing in the post between vehicle licensing offices.-Agencies

 

Did You Know

arrow Identity theft is the top consumer complaint in the USA according to the Federal Trade Commission.

arrow US consumers reported fraud loss totalling more than $1.1 billion in 2006.

arrow Credit card fraud (25%) was the most common form of reported identity theft in the US in 2006.

arrow More than 100 000 people are affected by identity theft each year in the UK

arrow According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 350 data loss incidents involving more than 140 million records have occurred since February 2005

arrow Organisations are obliged by law to take take adequate steps to ensure the proper disposal of data


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