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25m peoples’ bank details lost in the post…

They’ve lost half the country’s bank details, can’t keep track of our cars, publish doctors’ intimate personal details online, drop customs documents in the street, misplace laptops with personal data on them, and don’t even bother with passwords on their computers.

They lost this most recent data by sending it on couriered CD-Roms, which is certainly against policy, and possibly illegal. It’s also the way they lost Standard Life and another banks’ customer details earlier this month, and UBS’s customer details in 2005.

Of course, we already know that Government can’t learn from mistakes, since they rehired the company behind the ‘not fit for purpose’ MTAS computer system.

Now they want us to trust them with our health records and even our identities.

Is this Government serious?

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics, Technology.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Jonathan Rothwell

    22.38, 20/11/2007

Is it fair to blame the government, though? The problem appears to lie with HMRC, and whose stupid idea it was to send the entire database dump just through a private courier.

So, it wasn’t the government who cocked up, but HMRC.

It’s certainly not an excuse for the Tories to use in the Commons.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    16.58, 21/11/2007

Yes, it is fair to blame the government.

Error after error – including ones very similar to this – have happened repeatedly at HMRC, and whilst the organisation itself is separate from Government, it is overseen by the Treasury.

The Treasury failed to intervene in any meaningful way when the earlier errors were made – the sort of think I’d have thought that ‘overseeing’ the organisation would involve – and now they’ve been caught out.

To say that the Government can’t be criticised for this is like saying it can’t be criticised for any aspect of policy implementation, as none of this is done by Government itself.

It’s like saying that the Government can’t be blamed for the MMC Computer Problems because the software was designed by Methods Consulting, which is separate from government. Or that it can be blamed for falling conviction rates because the Police are separate from Government. Or that Tesco can’t be held responsible for sour milk because the dairies are a separate organisation.

These organisations are acting on behalf of the Government, and so the Government is ultimately responsible for their action.

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26th November 2007.

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sjhoward.co.uk » Brown struggles to be heard

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6th January 2008.

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sjhoward.co.uk » Useless computers cost £2bn

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7th January 2008.

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sjhoward.co.uk » Jeremy Clarkson: Idiot

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