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Government still losing at least a computer a week

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A year and a day after losing child benefit records for every family in the UK and promising to reform data handling the British government is still losing a laptop every single week.

Figures collated from Parliamentary answers reveal the government has lost 53 laptops since 20 November 2007 when Alistair Darling told the House of Commons that unencrypted discs containing the entire child benefit database had been lost.

Tory shadow housing minister Grant Shapps asked each department how many machines and storage devices it had lost this year. All answered except the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office - traditionally top performers in the government computer loss league.

53 computers have gone walkabout, 36 BlackBerrys, 30 mobile phones and four memory sticks and four disc drives.

The Department of Health came out on top with 14 laptops lost.

Shapps called for a government review of data handling although the last year has seen four such reviews as well as investigations into other data breaches likethe MoD's loss of 600, 000 records.

Despite a £20, 000 reward for the child benefit discs and a 47-officer strong police investigation they were never found.

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