Lost Military Disks Had Personal Information

LONDON – AN INTERNAL military memo published on Monday confirmed that computer disks lost at a British Royal Air Force base contained sensitive files on the private lives of senior officers, including answers to vetting questions about drug abuse, extramarital affairs and the use of prostitutes.
The memo was released to Britain’s The Guardian newspaper under freedom of information laws following the loss of data disks in September.

At the time of the theft from RAF Innsworth, about 113 miles west of London, Britain’s defense ministry said only that personal data such as bank details and addresses could have been lost.

But the memo confirms that the data included details of security vetting, potentially involving information on criminal convictions, debts, medical conditions and sexual activity.

‘This data provides an excellent target list for foreign intelligence services, investigative journalists and blackmailers,’ the memo stated.

Britain’s defense ministry declined Monday to confirm the details of the lost data, but said there is no evidence it is in the hands of criminals or enemy forces.

‘All individuals identified as being at risk received personal one-on-one interviews to alert them to the loss of data, to discuss potential threats and to provide them with advice on mitigating action,’ a ministry spokeswoman said, on condition of anonymity in line with policy. — AP