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Deloitte loses hundreds of thousands of pension details

Vodafone, rail union and others

Deloitte has admitted losing a laptop containing thousands of people's pension details, but said the data was encrypted and the machine password-protected, and it had no evidence the data had been misused.

The laptop contained 150,000 railway workers' details as well as details on all UK Vodafone staff with pensions and other unnamed pension funds. The lappy was stolen from a Deloitte staffer's handbag last month. The machine held personal information but not bank details. Deloitte was auditing the pension funds.

A letter sent to Vodafone staff, and seen by The Register, said the details included names, National Insurance numbers, dates of birth, pensionable salary, earnings and contributions.

Pension holders from the rail union got a similar reassuring letter, but Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staff Association, called for an urgent inquiry.

He said: "We are extremely concerned that this personal information affecting well over 100,000 people has gone missing.

"All we have received are bland assurances that everything is going to be all right."

A spokesman for Deloitte said the laptop contained pension fund databases from several clients.

The official Deloitte line is:

A handbag with a Deloitte laptop in it was stolen from a public place in September. The laptop held information which included employee details of individuals from a number of Deloitte's clients. It did not include addresses or bank account information. The theft was immediately reported to the police and relevant clients were notified.

The laptop was protected by a number of security measures, including start up password, operating system user ID/password authentication and encryption.

Deloitte has information security policies which include guidelines for employees to ensure they pay close attention to their laptops when in public places. Nevertheless, and very unfortunately, this theft still occurred.

We believe that the likelihood of unauthorised access to the data held on this laptop is remote due to the opportunistic nature of the theft and the security controls.

Vodafone said: "Vodafone is extremely concerned about the breach in security of our employees’ personal information and we take the matter very seriously.

"Deloitte is a highly reputable firm and also sincerely regrets that this opportunistic theft has happened. We have written to our employees assuring them that we are thoroughly investigating the matter." ®

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