The Daily Telegraph has a report which confirms our initial fears about the scandal involving unencrypted data transfers of the whole Child Benefit Award database by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and by the National Audit Office. This involves far, far more than just the risk of financial fraud:
[hat tip to UK Liberty]
Lost data discs 'endanger protected witnesses'
by Andrew Porter, Political Editor
The Daily Telegraph
Last Updated: 10:36am GMT 05/12/2007
Hundreds of people in police witness protection programmes have been put at risk by the loss of millions of child benefit records, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
The missing data discs are understood to contain both the real names and the new identities of up to 350 people who have had their identities changed after giving evidence against major criminals.
The development is one of the most serious so far in the missing data discs scandal, in which the child benefit records of 25 million people - including their names, addresses, birth dates, national insurance numbers and bank account details - were lost by HM Revenue and Customs.
The new identities of protected witnesses would be valuable property on the criminal market and, if they fell into the wrong hands, could place their lives and those of their families in jeopardy.
It will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide the witnesses with yet another identity.
A senior police source said: "This is disastrous. People's lives could be in danger. It makes a mockery of the witness protection programme."
Why is there still no offer of a substantial financial reward and a promise of immunity from prosecution, in return for these missing CDs, forthcoming from the Government ?
What about all the other categories of people whose real names and home addresses could also have been revealed e.g. Police Officers, Prison Warders, Judges, Intelligence Agency employees, and frontline Military Personnel currently facing the risk of capture and torture by our enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran etc.?