FBI Fraud Expert: HMRC Data Loss Was Theft - InformationWeek
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11/20/2007
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FBI Fraud Expert: HMRC Data Loss Was Theft

Frank Abagnale interviewed about HM Revenue & Customs data loss

LONDON -- The current position taken by the Government and reported extensively in the UK media is the loss of 25 million child benefit claimant records by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is simply an unfortunate blunder arising from sending computer discs in the post. Not so reports Computerworld UK today further to an exclusive interview with Frank Abagnale, the colourful former ex-con, FBI fraud expert and author of Catch me if you can, who says he's convinced it's an inside job and straight forward theft given how easy it is to pick things up in post rooms.

"It was not just a mistake. I truly believe that someone paid for the information to be stolen. It's what happens all the time, that someone acted in collusion with somebody else to steal this data" says Abagnale.

Governments, corporations and local authorities do a "horrible job of protecting data" he says.

In the Computerworld UK interview, Abagnale

  • Urges the UK government to provide a long term and stringent monitoring service to protect people given a thief would sit on the data for a number of years before harvesting identifies;
  • Questions whether the government can be trusted with biometric data - an individual's DNA- and considers the proposed UK ID scheme therefore to be untenable;
  • Says the UK lags far behind the USA in data protection notification laws since 10 days passed before the breach was announced - in America an immediate statement would have had to be made;
  • Warns that no technology can be foolproof, saying "When people say their system is foolproof, they are underestimating the creativity of fools."

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