Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brown Tuesday

We've had Black Wednesday (and a few other colourful days of the week) but I've never seen a government trying to fail as spectacularly as the current administration, since the late 70s.

I arrived back home on Wednesday after a week away and a long flight, switched on Sky News, to be greeted by blanket coverage of the HMRC CD-Rom debacle. By then, the story was 18 hours old and Alistair Darling was about to make his embarassed announcement to Parliament, followed by yet another pitiful performance by Brown at PMQs. I was hooked all day, giving me the best prescription for avoiding jet lag!

If I understand this right, every family with children, will have the details of their names, partner's name, address, bank account and NI details lost somewhere in the UK.

And they're blaming it on a junior official?! How is a junior official allowed access to all this information?

Apart from the obvious mis-management of highly sensitive data, the continual worry for nearly half the population and the refusal of any senior official to be accountable, hopefully this will see the end of ID Cards once and for all.

Brown now says that he'll review security procedures before ID cards are issued - but which one of the 25 million potential fraud victims are going to believe him? He was in charge of HMRC for 10 years after all.

The most surprising thing to me isn't that the goverment lost the data - their past incomptences confirm that - what I am surprised is that the data wasn't printed on paper and left in a supermarket. In this day and age why would government departments ever think of sharing information along secure data lines, removing the need to transfer data out of its control?

Wasn't there supposed to be a £5.4 billion computer system that might solve this? Oops - I forgot that it went way over budget and didn't work - preferring to protect our identities using 3 systems instead. Chalk up another joke.

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