Word got out today that Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue (ie the British tax service) managed to lose a CD containing ‘customer records’ for recipients of child benefits that was being sent to the National Audit Office. These included sort code and bank account details, national insurance numbers, dates of birth, and names and address details of a mere twenty five million people.
These were apparently sent using the Civil Service’s hyper-secure ‘grid post’ system, which involves people putting unsealed and re-used envelopes in out trays in their offices. As the Register puts it.
“… sometimes you get the more security-aware users sticking a label across the seal and signing it, so there’s some evidence if it’s tampered with.”
When the CD sent this way did not arrive, they resent it, using the hyper-hyper-secure Registered Mail service provided by the Royal Mail (fortunately, this time it arrived).
However, Alistair Darling has now set up an investigation. That makes me feel so much better.
And Paul Smee, of the bank clearing system has said that we all enjoy protection under the Banking Code, so we will cannot suffer any financial loss. And anyway, the accounts in question have had “extra safeguards” put on them. All 25 million of them, presumably. That makes me feel so much better too.
And does anyone at all seriously believe that the proposed system of ID cards and national identity databases is not going to deliver us debacle after debacle of this kind? Why do ministers and bureaucrats live in this deluded world in which they believe they are competent?