Running Out of Things to Lose

It was only a few days ago that I commented on British Government losing all of the confidential data on every prisoner in the UK. Now it has been revealed that they have lost the details on 5,000 employees of the justice system. This information was on a hard drive.

How do you lose just a hard drive? The Ministry of Justice isn’t exactly sure. They know the details were lost by their completely incompetent contractors EDS. They also know that it happened in July of last year, though the Justice Secretary only found out after somebody told The News of the World. It’s pretty bad when the Government has to find out from a Sunday tabloid newspaper that it’s employees are at risk.

As usual, this is going to be an expensive blunder.

The Prison Officers’ Association said the loss, which it had not been informed about, could end up costing the taxpayer millions of pounds.

National chairman Colin Moses said: “We are extremely concerned that not only has this data been lost, but that the Prison Service appear to have tried to conceal this serious breach in security.

“It is a breach that we believe could ultimately cost the taxpayer millions and millions of pounds, because, if the information lost is personal and sensitive, it may well mean staff having to move prisons, move homes and relocate their families.”

Losing Everything

I keep thinking that it is impossible for the British Government and it’s bureaucracy to screw things up worse than they already have. It’s the one thing about which I am always wrong. They just can’t stop losing things.

First, they lost the bank details of everyone receiving child benefit – that is, every family with children in the UK, including mine – 25 million in all. We got a nice impersonal apology letter for that one. Then they lost the details of three million learner drivers.

Then the Ministry of Defence lost a laptop with the details of 600,000  people who had expressed an interest in joining the armed forces. At least they know when and where they lost that one (it was left overnight in a car in Birmingham), even if they never got it back. At the time they didn’t even know they had lost hundreds of Ministry of Defense laptops and memory sticks with classified information on them and still don’t know where those are.

All the while they keep insisting that we hand over more and more data for them to keep on us.

Now the Home Office has lost all the data – including all the confidential information – on every prisoner in the UK. This is includes release dates and other information that could compromise their safety.  The Government is looking at millions and millions of pounds in compensation or in damages from the inevitable lawsuits.

I honestly don’t know what new higher levels of incompetence the Government will demonstrate before the next General Election. I don’t know how much of the country will be left for them to turn over to the Tories. The mind boggles.

What’s Bugging Lawyers

Any time Big Brother is not watching, he may still be listening. In what is one of the clearest indications of how Britain is becoming a totalitarian state, it has emerged that the police bugging of a conversation between a Muslim MP and his constituent is not a fluke. And it is not confined to terrorism or national security cases.

A whistleblower at Woodhill Prison has let the press know that hundreds of lawyers have been bugged while meeting with clients.  This should have the Government worried – not because they are under a lot of pressure from opposition parties to explain how this has been allowed, but because judges could start throwing out convictions, even in some high profile cases.

If notorious criminals start hitting the streets because their human rights have been flagrantly violated a lot of people are going get unhappy very fast.

It is worrying that the State has such a need to control that it cannot afford to allow the privilege that has long formed the bedrock of the lawyer-client relationship. It must have information at all costs.  After all, information is power and the closer the State gets to omniscience, the more powerful it becomes.