Catalogue of data blunders

The loss of a computer memory stick containing information on thousands of criminals is the latest in a series of embarrassing losses of confidential information.

* On November 20 last year, Chancellor Alistair Darling admitted to MPs that computer discs holding personal information on 25 million people and 7.2 million families had gone missing.

He said the details included names, addresses, dates of birth, Child Benefit numbers, National Insurance numbers and bank or building society account details.

* The Department of the Environment revealed on December 11 that two computer discs containing the names and addresses of 7,685 Northern Ireland motorists had disappeared.

The information went missing at a sorting centre in Coventry and was not encrypted.

The material had been sent from Northern Ireland Driver and Vehicle Agency in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea.

* On the same day, it emerged that confidential personal details of dozens of prisoners had been mistakenly sent to a private business.

Thought to have been intended for Norfolk Police, the letters included names, dates of birth and criminal histories of dozens of inmates set to be released.

They also revealed the addresses the prisoners would move to after leaving jail, sources said.

* On December 17, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced that the details of three million candidates for the driving theory test had gone missing.

Names, addresses and phone numbers were among details on a computer hard drive which went missing in the US in May last year.

The hard drive belonged to a contractor working for the Driving Standards Agency.

* On January 19 this year, it emerged that a Royal Navy officer's laptop containing the details of 600,000 people had been stolen.

The computer was taken on January 9 in Birmingham and reported the following morning.

It contained personal information from people who had signed up to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force and from people who had expressed an interest in joining.

* On June 10 documents relating to al Qaida in Pakistan and the security situation in Iraq were left on a train and later handed to the BBC.

The documents were said to have been left in an orange cardboard envelope on a train from London Waterloo to Surrey by an intelligence official working in the Cabinet Office.

The envelope was picked up by another passenger.

* On June 11 a second batch of secret government files were discovered on a train bound for London's Waterloo Station. The files related to a week-long conference of the international Financial Action Task Force.

They were said to include details of how trade and banking systems could be manipulated to finance illicit weapons of mass destruction in Iran.

* On June 18 it emerged that a desktop PC had been stolen from Communities Secretary Hazel Blears' constituency office in Salford which contained sensitive documents.

The information was not thought to have been encrypted and The Department of Communities and Local Government admitted its officials had "not fully" complied with guidance on handling sensitive data.

* The same day, it was announced that six laptops had been stolen from St George's Hospital, in Tooting, south London.

The laptops, containing information about around 20,000 patients including 3,000 children, were stolen from a locked cabinet in an office in the Atkinson Morley Wing of the teaching hospital between June 6 and June 9.

July 18: The Ministry of Defence admitted that 658 of its laptops have been stolen over the past four years, nearly double the figure previously claimed. The department also said 26 portable memory sticks containing classified information had been either stolen or misplaced since January.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food