So would you trust HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) with any sensitive information or even to be able to do its important job, consistently fairly and accurately? If the answer is 'Yes' I would be surprised.
In March, I'm chairing the ecrime congress again and we'll hear how much worse the online crime problem has become and what is being done to tackle data theft and data loss by government and large companies. This year we have David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, the Directors of the US Secret Service and FBI, several large banks and ironically, the head of the French computer crime unit, making their point. I wonder if the French will have found the missing Société Générale trader by then?
Anyway, from this year, anyone wishing to file a self-assessment tax return after October will have to do so online or face stiff penalties, which is unfortunate if you are still one of the 20% of the population who stubbornly refuse to use the internet.
Worse still, is the news that if you aren't really important; an MP perhaps or a fottballer or a Prince or maybe even a Russian plutocrat, HMRC has admitted that it can't really guarantee that your financial data is secure, so you won't have to file onlike like everyone else. In a statement, HMRC said:
"HMRC online services are designed with security as an integral part of the service. We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard data and operate strict security standards.
"A tiny minority of individuals' records, including MPs, have extra security measures over and above the very high standards of confidentiality with which HMRC treats all taxpayers' data.
"The separate arrangements mean they are unable to use the online service."
Read into this what you may but I certainly wouldn't trust HMRC with 'any' sensitive information, given their appalling track record and cavalier attitude to the data protection legislation to date. The expression, 'Unfit for purpose' springs to mind and I will certainly let you draw your own conclusions from that.