Last year was the worst ever for data losses in the UK, with almost 37 million people having their private data compromised. The government's loss of 25 million child benefit records was the largest single screw-up, but other government departments and private companies played their part too. The figures were compiled by the …
Almost surely there is some, uknown, overlap between sets of these lost data, thus the more accurate figure would be "something between 25m and 37m", most probably somewhere in the middle 30m.
We now need to find...
the country's most unlucky (and now probably the poorest) person. By my reckoning, the person will be:
A parent that is learning to drive and has recently been to hospital. They're receiving help fighting a small claims court case in Belfast from the Citizens Advice Bureau. They had all their savings invested with Countrywide Assured. The year probably started looking up for them when they found their perfect job on monster.com, working for Leeds Building Society and subsequently took out a loan with loans.co.uk to buy some new suites from TK Maxx.
My advice to them would be to transfer any money they have left to the Bank of Lagos before it's too late!
Shurely Shome Mishtake
These data losses are surely not new. What's new is that the culture is gradually changing to one where it is better to disclose now than get caught later. (Witness the number of rather old stories that popped out of the bag in the weeks following the child benefit fracas.)
In my view, that makes 2007 the best ever year for data protection.
What are UK's new years resolutions?
All well and good moaning over spilled data records, but what are you going to do about it?
My new years resolutions for the UK would be.
1. Strict data protection regime for UK.gov. No data collected except for purpose needed. No storing of data for longer than needed, no cross linking of data to expand it. Access to data removed from political appointees. Right to see the data stored on you and seek corrections.
2. Judicial process put back into all UK laws, no more of that Blair stuff. No more non judicial penalties, fines, confiscations without prosecution.
3. No more detention without trial, ever, no more warrantless searches, ever, no more arrests without suspicion of crime, ever. No more exclusion orders, or hearsay backed ASBOs, no more worrying about what you say, innocent until proven guilty concept ressurected.
4. European Convention on Human rights adopted in full and UK constitution built around it. Protection of individual rights built into constitution to protect UK from any future 'Tonys' that might come along.
Is it possible
...that there are other years of significant data loss which government et al. have simply not admitted to? Or are they under legal obligation to fess up to these cock ups (in which case government can just change that law woohoo!)
At that rate, everyone's data will have been lost by the end of 2008. Then there will be nothing more to worry about..
'In total, 36,989,300 people in the UK have had their private records compromised.'
...that we know of...
best foot in mouth forward
The most logical step now must be to set up a brand new database detailing lots of sensitive information pertaining ONLY to those people whose data has not yet been accidentally misplaced, stolen, lost or otherwise compromised. Suggest also that we leave it hanging from a tree in Hyde Park so that no single government agency can be blamed when it goes missing.
I chose the Paris Icon 'cause she's got a higher IQ ... Happy Nude Year.
No sh!t sherlock
It could also be the fact that more data than ever has been recorded and stored than any other year before this. Such is the nature of storage. If you keep keeping stuff you always end up with more stuff than you started with.
As such it is not suprising that more and more of it gets "lost" or access is otherwise gained by the wrong people. I expect 2008 will eclipse 2007 in the amount of data left insecure, though perhaps not yet exploited.
Well, now we only need good laws to protect against ID fraud
it is a disgrace that the state can make your details available to fraudsters, yet refuse to target them when, as a result of government actions, you become ID fraud victim with shoddy credit file.
Ban the sale of recordable CDRs, DVDs and portable data devices. Close down the Internets, all of them. Secure all server farms "Gitmo" style and buy lots of scary guard dogs. Black helicopters away!!!
the more accurate figure would be "something between 25m and 37m"...
... so about half the UK population. Thats really comforting.
I guess the other half will lose their info this year