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Confidential details go missing at Rural Payments Agency

In yet another shocking lapse in security it has been revealed that around 100,000 farmers have become embroiled in a data loss situation at the Rural Payments Agency with CDs and tapes having been missing for over a year. These CDs and tapes contained confidential information on each and every farmer in the UK which included bank details, addresses and security passwords offering access to various government agencies and assistance.

It is only this week that the situation has been brought to light even though IBM advised the Rural Payments Agency of the issue back in May, although the data seems to have been missing since June 2008. IBM had no part in the missing data and it was only after carrying out a review of the agency's security systems that this came to light. As you would expect, the UK government has this week instigated a detailed investigation into how the data went missing, whether any information has been used illegally and ultimately why farmers were never told.

This is just the latest in a long line of data security issues which have involved both government and non-government departments in the UK. The very fact that so much data is held by third parties is becoming more of a concern for consumers and businesses around the world at a time when criminal gangs seem to be infiltrating every corner of the economy.

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