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Police give up on lost CDs

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UK police are to stop searching for the missing child benefit CDs early next week.

Chancellor Alistair Darling is to announce measures on Monday to prevent a repeat performance of the data loss, and will call a halt to the search.

The search was downgraded last week from 47 detectives to 32. At the same time, a £20,000 reward was offered for the missing data. The interim report, by PwC chairman Kieran Poynter, will also be published on Monday, according to the FT.

Darling is also expected to announce some kind of centralised system to reassure people that data lost won't be used for fraud. Reports suggest Experian may be involved in an early-warning scheme to monitor use of the missing data as part of a project organised by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Given the scale of the loss - 25 million records - it is hard to see how effective this could be.

The government continues to blame a junior civil servant for the disaster, even though the CDs were sent unencrypted three times and the HMRC ignored a request to send only part of the information rather than the complete database. ®

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