Theft from air base latest data loss in Britain
Sep 27, 2008, 5:48 GMT
London - Files containing data on thousands of current and former Royal Air Force service personnel were stolen from a high-security area of a base in south-western England, the Defence Ministry said in the latest in a string of embarrassments involving lost or stolen data files.
Ministry and local police were called in to investigate the theft Wednesday of three portable hard-disk drives from the base in Innsworth in Gloucester, the ministry said late Friday.
The exact number of people affected by the theft and what information was on the disks was not immediately known, but the base handles information of about 900,000 current and former military personnel.
The disappearance was the latest of personal data held by the British government. At the beginning of September, the Justice Ministry said a hard drive containing data on 5,000 prison officials and ministry administrative personnel went missing in the summer of 2007.
The loss of data on all prisoners in England and Wales also caused a stir in August, and in October, CDs with personal details of 25 million recipients of child benefits also disappeared.