Barnet Council has become the latest public sector body to suffer an embarrassing data breach, after unencrypted USB sticks and CDs containing the details of 9,000 schoolchildren were stolen following a burglary at an employee's home.
The details, which were held for statistical purposes by the council, included date of birth, gender and ethnicity, and all those affected have been informed, according to an FAQ section on the council web site.
Barnet Council also said it thought the risks associated with this data breach are very low, given that the burglars were "looking for high-value items rather than specifically to steal data".
"We, the council, has disabled any access to external storage devices so no member of staff can make unauthorised copies in the future," said the council.
"All computers leaving the council offices have to be confirmed as encrypted. A full independent review of how the council holds data has been ordered."
The incident highlights many of the problems the public sector faces in trying to tighten up its record on data breaches, namely that all the rules and guidelines in the world don't mean anything if staff are willing to disregard them.
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