Forget ID cards, those in charge can’t keep anything secret

By Ross Brewster | It’s exactly a year since a computer disc holding the details of 25 million people mysteriously went missing.

You would think that a Government still misguidedly propagating the idea of ID cards would, at the very least, have tidied up its act over the protection of information about the public.

But no. Since last November there has been a catalogue of incidents which show that Whitehall still has a casual disregard for the security of this data.

Data protection is often used as an effective block on us getting hold of important information.

Yet the protection of data about us, by government departments, is about as lax as it can get.

Why, even a Government Minister, in this case Works and Pensions Secretary John Purnell, left confidential papers on a train.

Mr Purnell was luckier than the intelligence officer who was fined for leaving classified documents on a commuter train.

The Department of Works and Pensions reared its ugly head again recently when a memory stick relating to its computer system was found lying in a pub car park.

Well, I’ve heard of taking work home with you. But this is ridiculous.

What on earth is going on when staff can simply remove bits out of computers containing what may well be sensitive data, and wander off home for the weekend.

The level of complacency is terrifying. Inevitably one of these security lapses is going to lead to serious trouble. Possibly the acquisition of home addresses of the military might even fall into the hands of terrorists.

ID cards will cost an arm and a leg to introduce. There is no clear evidence that they will be effective.

The Government has not made out a convincing case for them and it certainly hasn’t shown a capacity to handle them responsibly.

We are already in danger of being snooped upon at every street corner, even in our own homes, by Big Brother bureaucrats.

Every new case of mislaid data makes you wonder just who has information about us and how secure it is.

They shouldn’t be bringing in new measures until they have proved they can be trusted with what they have pinned on us now.