Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Who You Going to Call?

Strangely enough, I found myself hauled along to Irvine Drive in Margate this afternoon by a combination of the BBC, SKY and ITN. Nothing to do with the tragic story from the house in that street but a consequence of 25 million child-benefit records being lost by HM Customs & Revenue.

“How would you sum up the problem?” asked the BBC’s Jayne Peel in a call I just had from the BBC 10 O’clock News team a little later. “If it falls into the wrong hands, then off-the-record we’re *****d” I replied!

“That’s what I thought”, she said, taking me through the Chancellor’s statement to the Commons for more comment. "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help!"

I felt really sorry for the news crews in Irvine Drive, as I joined them shivering in the rain. One surprise is that the BBC 24 reporter is the Home Secretary’s sister! – It’s a small world!


Anonymous said...

I hope you told the journos off the record how IRA raised funds via DHSS fraud based in thanet, using single mother claimants whose liable relative had no National Insurance Number. One of the fraud addresses was a suspect active IRA unit bomb cell address. Hence proper investigation of DSS fraud can lead to active terrorist cells. Oh dear suitable claimants ? The sort of information available on 7 million family allowance records ...

Reading the BBC comments I came across one in which the lady appeared to be saying that her daughter's NI number was (historically) obtained and she (the mother) eventually got a letter asking if her circs for receipt of care allowance and a motability car were unchanged ! Somone appears to have been drawing benefits in her name .. and to have satisfied the all work test and the care component test and the mobility test to score a small fortune from incapacity benefits ...

F-cked ... you got it if these records fall into the wrong hands.

(And all I asked in the context of breach of security warnings given before the 1989 bombing of Deal barracks was that DI George Rogers and Co liaise with DHSS and investigate six further such suspected cases using the known IRA MO. What tossers Kent Police are eh ?)

Let's hope that the two disks are bouncing about lost in the back of a TNT van.

Anonymous said...

Good to see how the IRA conspiracy chap (Franks?) has returned from ECR to stitch his arguments into a current scandal! One is reminded of Eden or MacMillan and his quoute about 'events , dear boy, events'; this Government are having too many at the moment. What concerns me is how in-effective the information Commissioner is in regard to enforcement and imposing penalties on those responsible for such disgraceful lapses in security. I suspect that these discs are being touted for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria or Eastern Europe at the moment and the full impact of their 'loss' will not be felt for some-time. This presumably is a terrorist organisations or criminal gangs equivalent to discovering they have the Midas touch!

Mr Friday said...

Let's hope the Child Benefit scandal is the final nail in the coffin of any remaining faith the public have in Labour's ability to manage the country.

Let's face it, now that they have put half the country at risk of identity fraud that is an awful lot of votes potentially lost.

I think the Conservatives are playing a canny game too - not jumping on Alistair Darling to resign but saying he should remain in post whilst also saying that surely the national ID project must be scrapped in light of this failure to safeguard our data.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Mr Friday, some of those who still believe in big government are claiming that 'biometric' data on ID cards will help us overcome fraud attempts when the crims use the data they already now have! I for one don't believe a word of it! I sincerely hope this scandalous loss of data will kill off for once and for all the nonsense of a one card, multi-use, national ID card.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Darling will resign over this issue. NuLabour doesn't do "resignation" Being charitable it isn't really his fault, but someone has to do the honourable thing. As for the prospect of legal redress who will pay for any compensation? We will. Well those of us that work that is. I do believe Labour is in the twilight years. Northern Wreck would be my candidate for the straw that breaks the camels back. It looks like the Northen Rock fiasco could cost us double the defence budget.

On the topic of ID cards, one would hope that the government would now see the folly of this idea, but as noted above there are too many believers amongst the control freaks that rule us.