An interesting news item from cnet this morning: the British Government has fessed up to losing “two discs containing the details of everybody in the U.K. who claims and receives child benefits.” cnet story here
While it never specifies what kind of disks these were, I’m assuming CDs or DVDs. It’s interesting to note that, according to the article, the disks (or possibly the files they contain) were password-protected, but not encrypted. They were supposed to be couriered from one location to another for auditing and never arrived. So a second set was sent and that set did arrive. The scariest part was that the higher-ups didn’t even hear about the incident till 3 weeks after the fact.
Now, I’ve never dealt with 2 disks full of people’s Social Security Numbers, social security account balances, etc., but I’d like to think that if I lost one I’d have enough courage to fess up ASAP. On the other hand, knowing the magnitude of just such a mistake, I tend to think anyone would try to collect at least one more paycheck before moving into their cave down by the Thames.
On the other hand, the pollice and other officials are saying there’s been no sign of fraud, so there’s no reason to assume these disks have fallen into the wrong hands.
In any case… if you made a mistake of this magnitude, would your first response be to bring it to someone’s attention, or would your first response be to bury it? Be honest… the world is watching. 😉