News today that local authorities have managed to lose sensitive data on individuals over 1,000 times in the past three years is serious stuff, and underlines how much information we place in the hands of civil servants tasked with running the country.
The data, uncovered by privacy advocates Big Brother Watch, revealed that most of the incidents councils fessed up to involved the loss of devices such as laptops, mobile phones and USBs, which is not a huge surprise.
However, there were one or two bizarre incidents that caught Sneak's eye and show that for all the legislation and technical measures you can put in place to try and stop data going missing, you can't legislate for every eventuality.
These incidents include a staff member in Kent leaving a diary on top of his car before driving off, causing the diary to go missing, while the same error befell an employee in Gloucestershire who left conference case notes on the roof of his car.
An even better Gloucestershire incident, though, was the case of a van delivery door swinging open causing several bags of files to go missing, although all but one were recovered in the end. The council's action? "Van door fixed".
Sneak's favourite, however, was the report from an authority in Aberdeenshire that it lost sensitive data when a paper file was "blown away in the wind". This led to a verbal warning for the staff member involved and a "review of handling paper outside".
Basically, if it's windy, don't let go of paper, is the thing to remember. It certainly gives a new meaning to the term cloud computing anyway.
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