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From: Jon Turner (jjturnergmail.com)
Date: Sat Apr 25 2009 - 05:23:26 CDT
A junior Royal Navy officer is facing a court martial after a laptop
containing the personal data of 600,000 people, including serving personnel
and thousands of people who have shown an interest in a military career, was
stolen from his car.
The loss of the laptop was considered to be so serious that Des Browne, the
Defence Secretary, will make a statement to the Commons early next week.
The Ministry of Defence said last night that the data included bank account
and passport details, national insurance and NHS numbers, and home
Serving members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and RAF will be the most
vulnerable to potential fraud because all their details would have been
included. People who indicated an interest in the Services would have
supplied only names and addresses. The laptop was stolen from the car parked
in Birmingham overnight on January 9-10. MoD sources said that laptops could
be removed from an office or base only if there was proper signed
authorisation. One source said: “We cannot confirm yet whether this laptop
had been signed out.”
There were concerns last night about security implications because recruits
could be targets for terrorists.
West Midlands Police were investigating the theft. Meanwhile, the MoD took
steps to safeguard the personal data of the people involved, and said that
it included details of young men and women who were in the early stages of
applying to join the Services. The MoD said that army details were not
Although the theft was known about more than a week ago, the MoD decided to
keep it secret in order to take immediate security measures. It said that
the theft had leaked out to the media, and a decision was taken to make a
The junior officer will face questioning by West Midlands Police and the
military police. Leaving a laptop containing such sensitive material inside
a car is likely to be viewed as a serious offence, leading to a court
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