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August 31, 2009

Government USB data losses are embarrassing

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by Alan Harten

The new Resource Accounts for 2008-2009 report from the Home Office offered a dramatically new estimation of how much data was lost by PA Consulting last year surprising many and leading a few to question if the government can adequately protect the personal data of its citizens.

Originally the Home Office claimed that when a USB was lost by PA Consulting it contained about 127,000 records of prisoner data information. However, in the new report the USB was revealed to actually have held the data of about 377,000 prisoners.

Surprisingly, this comes in the wake of information that was released that showed the Home Office paid PA Consulting £24m during the last year as compared to £8.5m the year before. This is even more astounding when you consider that PA Consulting lost its contract after the data was lost.

A spokesman for the Home Office stated that the new figures and information come from the Drugs Interventions Programme.

The report closed with a statement from the Home Office that the unit will continue to look for weaknesses and assess areas where they need to lessen the risk of data and information loss in an attempt to continuously improve their system.

The memory stick that caused the uproar has not been found to this day.

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