Thousands of criminal files lost in Uk data fiasco
Confidential records and sensitive intelligence on tens of thousands of the most prolific criminals in England and Wales have been lost in a major breach of data security at the heart of Whitehall.
Scotland Yard is investigating the loss of the information, which was taken from the Police National Computer and entrusted by the Home Office to a private consultancy firm.
The data had been encrypted for security reasons but was decoded by staff at PA Consulting Group and placed on a computer memory stick that was subsequently lost. The device contains personal details and intelligence on 33,000 serious offenders, dossiers on 10,000 “priority criminals” and the names and dates of birth of all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales. There is also information on an unspecified number of people enlisted on drug intervention programmes.
The disappearance of such a massive amount of secret information has widespread implications. Police informants could be at risk of reprisals. Named offenders may seek rehousing or police protection from vigilantes, and individuals who believe that their personal data has been compromised could seek compensation.
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