Feeds

Lag log leaks - Home Office contractor loses entire prison population

Secure database + idiot + memory stick

High performance access to file storage

In a major coup in the government data loss stakes PA Consulting - which until Monday was one of the Home Office's favourite consulting outfits - has contrived to lose the entire prison population of England and Wales. Personal details of the 84,000 people behind bars, along with those of 10,000 prolific offenders, have vanished on a memory stick, it was revealed last night.

It's by no means the biggest of government data losses, but it shows style. Historically the prison service hasn't found it particularly easy to tally up precisely who they've got and where they are - leading to bizarre cases where we've been told that escaped prisoners might have been recaptured, but they can't be sure - so it's an achievement to get them all in the one place and then mislay them. And as it's actually the Ministry of Justice that runs the prison service these days, it wasn't even the Home Office's data, really.

Take that, Jack Straw.

PA held the data as part of a contract to work on JTrack, a project to manage Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPOs). It's a database made up of information contributed by police (details of arrests and charges, the Crown Prosecutions Service (trial outcomes) and the Prison Service. It has 2,500 users, and is intended to allow police forces and the CPS to "co-ordinate their approach to targeting PPOs." The presence of the entire prison population on this database might in that sense seem overkill, given that they're not all PPOs (although in 2004 the Home Office estimated that there were 100,000 of them, more than the total lost this week).

The data was held on PA's computers, in "a secure format" according to the Home Office, but was downloaded onto a memory stick and "for processing purposes." This was then lost. A search of the company's premises has failed to recover the stick, and the transfer of further data to PA has been suspended pending an investigation.

So that's at least one thing Gary Glitter can breath easy about today.

In its capacity as one of the Home Office's favourite consultants, PA was the development partner for the ID card scheme, working on "design, feasibility testing, business case and procurement". The Home Office spent £148 million on consultants on 2006-7, and forecast £100 million for 2007-8. From April to September in that year, PA was paid £7,163,806, and was indeed the Home Office's top trousering consultant for the period. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.