Data Theft: Charnwood Borough Council

Charnwood Borough Council have had hard drives stolen since November 2006 by one of their IT staff, Peter War. The hard drives have since been sold on E-Bay, and Peter Ward convicted of theft, and sentenced 180 hours of community service.

The concern in this case is not the theft of hard drives, they probably have little to no value to the council, but rather the data on them.

The council has admitted that 8  computer hard drives, which could contain personal and financial information about residents, are “still missing”; though once the data has been stolen, it should always be considered stolen, unless proven otherwise (and proving a negative is almost impossible!)

The hard drives contains information about 1,000s of tax pays/residences in the borough, hence the concern. The issue was only noticed by a buyer from eBay who reported that he had this information.

While the council will state that they could not have predicted  a trust employee would steal old hard drives, and sell them on ebay, they could have predicted that at some point hard drives will be lost, stolen, or recycled, and therefore protecting the data is important.

To protect against this form of data theft or data loss is easy, simply and often free  – encryption.

This sort of case came about because the council were told about the issue, by a good Samaritan.  This again raises the question of, we know data thefts that are reported but what about the ones that are not reported?

Data Theft


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