A consulting firm lost a computer memory stick containing details of all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales. Details including names, addresses and birthdate of 33,000 people with six or more convictions, and people in drug rehabilitation programmes were also on the stick. The data was apparently being held by the government in secure form, but was downloaded onto a memory stick in violation of rules in the contract with the consulting firm.
The loss follows admissions by UK Revenue and Customs that it lost data on about 25 million people; by the Ministry of Defence that about 658 laptops have been stolen in the past four years; and, by the Transport Secretary that details of some three million learner drivers were lost by a firm in the US.
The consulting firm involved is one of the main companies involved in setting up a controversial ID cards scheme and its failure raised concerns about the safety of the national identity database.
See, "Tories call for data loss prosecutions," The Observer, Aug. 24, 2008; "UK criminals' details go missing," Aug. 22, 2008, OneNews, at http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/536641/2028793.