Britain’s Ministry of Defence had said that 347 laptops had gone missing between 2004 and 2007. But it seems that total was a bit of an underestimate, and that the actual figure was a bit of an underestimate – the actual figure, it’s finally been revealed, is 658 stolen and another 89 lost, with 121 USB memory sticks gone, 26 of them this year alone. The BBC reports that three of the memory sticks contained “secret” information and another 19 “restricted” information.
An embarrassed Defence Secretary, Des Browne, revealed the correct figures after “anomalies in the reporting process” had been revealed. The information became public after an opposition MP tabled a question in Parliament. That MP, Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather, told the BBC:
"It seems that this government simply cannot be trusted with keeping sensitive information safe. This shows a shocking degree of incompetence."
The Ministry of Defence apparently had no idea when or how the equipment had been stolen. However, it insisted its policies were “generally fit for purpose.”
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