February 12th, 2011

And is if by chance

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Today’s entry touches on yesterday’s & shows part of the reason why I never gave my DNA sample when I was a police officer and why I don’t agree that innocent people’s DNA records should be kept when they are not convicted of an offence; I simply don’t trust the authorities to keep my data safe.

Gwent Police are up in front of the Data Commissioner for breaches of the Data Protection Act when a member of staff emailed the results of 10,000 CRB checks to a journalist. The email with attached Exel spreadsheet was meant to go to colleagues within the police but one had a similar name to a journalist the staff member had previously emailed & the email software helpfully offered the journalist’s address in the autofill mode.

This is just one in a long & glittering record of stupidity which has lead to personal & private data being released. Laptops being ‘lost’ (GCHQ have a record of 35 laptops going missing), data sticks, CDs with all sorts of info being ‘lost in the post’.

I posted previously about misuse of intimate samples when one force illegally tested a blood sample for HIV & the prosecution inadvertently released the information during a trial about a witness in the case who did not know he had HIV & another case where someone’s family relationship to another person was revealed in court when the subject did not know of the relationship.

Is it really any wonder that many people don’t trust the government to keep secure data actually secure?

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7 comments

  1. Simon says:

    I no longer trust Government (of any party) to keep data safe.

    February 13th, 2011 at 07:23

  2. John says:

    I have not trusted government ever, nor any party.
    They are all a collection of low-grade solicitors who cannot make a living as such, many with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics: who cannot even make government profitable even with a captive income base.
    Why anyone would want, or even consider, trusting them with anything at all has been one of the wonders of the world……

    February 13th, 2011 at 08:00

  3. Fee says:

    Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. I wouldn’t trust the government (of any shade) to keep a Christmas surprise secret, far less any real kind of information.

    February 13th, 2011 at 11:32

  4. Gary says:

    I don’t trust any organisation with data about myself and as for my DNA I too refused to allow it to be placed on the database when I was in the job. I told my Inspector that I would be prepared to sell it if the price was right-what was the offer? He told me not to be stupid and just do it. I told him what he did with his DNA was a matter for him and one day when the job to raise money sells his DNA to the insurance industry and he suddenly finds that he can for some unknown medical reason no longer get a mortgage, car or life insurance etc perhaps he will think he was the stupid one.

    February 13th, 2011 at 16:24

  5. Justablackrat says:

    I refused to provide my DNA too. I received various threats (some veiled, some not) involving the career suicide that continued refusal would bring. They never bother asking me anymore now. Funny that. :)

    February 13th, 2011 at 17:56

  6. Dan H. says:

    OK, let us suppose we have a hypothetical scenario: police find blood at the scene of a fight, which doesn’t feature exactly on their database but for which they have a partial match, a sibling of this person. They pull in the sibling and get him to account for where he and all his brothers were at that time; this is done and DNA checks reveal that none of these were guilty.

    Further work grabs the actual perpetrator who is then convicted.

    Now, given the guaranteed stupidity of some police, odds are they’ll not realise they’ve leaked information twice to the general public; firstly when they said they were looking for a sibling in one family, then again when they nabbed their man having eliminated all the “official” brothers in that family; they’d effectively announced to the world that Daddy there had an unofficial son. Nice going; if his wife is sufficiently switched on to realise that one!

    February 14th, 2011 at 11:19

  7. bunk says:

    Why is CRB data being sent unencrypted?

    Surely that kind of data shouldn’t leave a secured network without being encrypted using the public keys of the recipients… ie, the data is useless if sent to the wrong people, or intercepted in transit.

    Where I work, no customer data goes anywhere – not even to the database without being encrypted – and we’re not dealing with sensitive data, just names, emails etc

    February 15th, 2011 at 23:59

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