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[ISN] Details of Scots on stolen laptop


BBC News
29 January 2008

A stolen Ministry of Defence computer had the personal details of almost 
60,000 Scots stored on it.

The revelation came in a written parliamentary answer to SNP defence 
spokesman Angus Robertson MP.

The laptop, which was taken from a Royal Navy officer in Birmingham on 9 
January, contained information about 600,000 people.

The MoD has set up a freephone help number on 0800 085 3600 for anyone 
who thinks they may have been affected.

The breakdown given to Mr Robertson disclosed that the details of 59,553 
people in Scotland were lost as a result of the theft.

In Wales, the details of 37,546 people were lost, while in Northern 
Ireland 14,223 people were affected.

The details of 459,778 people from England and 34,667 people from 
elsewhere were also on the laptop.

Mr Robertson said the scale of the problem was "staggering" and called 
for a thorough investigation.

Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, has said he took the theft 
of personal data "extremely seriously".

He added: "I am also keenly aware of the risks should the data have 
fallen into the wrong hands, although I emphasise that there is no 
evidence that it has done so.

"I am determined that we should identify exactly what went wrong and 
learn lessons."

Mr Robertson said the MoD's response to his questioning brought home the 
staggering scale of the data loss.

Passport details

He added: "The obvious and immediate concern must be the security of 
individuals, and their families, whose data has stolen, but we also 
urgently need assurances from the MoD that operational security has not 
been compromised by this grave breach.

"It is just unfathomable that the MoD could let this happen, and we must 
now have a top level investigation into data security right across UK 
Government departments."

The laptop contained personal details of people who had joined the Royal 
Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force and from people who had 
expressed an interest in joining.

Entries on the computer included passport details, National Insurance 
numbers, drivers' licence details, family details, doctors' addresses 
and NHS numbers, the MoD said.

West Midlands Police began an investigation into the theft of the 
laptop, and an inquiry into military security was also launched.

The MoD's helpline will be open from 0700 GMT to 1900 GMT, Monday to 

Callers will be asked to provide their name, date of birth and postcode 
to verify whether they are at risk.

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