Data Loss

Data protection seems to have become a running story in Ireland, or maybe it’s just that the silly season has pushed the stories to the front page.

Recent incidents include the loss of a laptop containing social welfare details of Irish citizens, a laptop containing confidential information about companies receiving support from the IDA, and a laptop containing details of blood donors.

In another incident, a laptop computer stolen from a Garda car held information on alleged criminal activity in Dublin.

The latest laptop computer was mislaid at a bus stop, it appears.

In some cases – the Blood Transfusion Board for example – data on the computers was encrypted as a security precaution.

In other cases, such as Bank of Ireland Life, there were no security precautions.

The data protection commissioner has described the latest incident as a ‘serious breach’.

Government spinners are peddling the idea that data on the laptops will be erased before they are sold cheaply ‘off the back of a lorry’.

But what I don’t get is, how can anyone forget a laptop?

A USB stick I can see, I’ve spent enough time searching for stray memory sticks over the years.

But who forgets a laptop computer?

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.