With so many people accessing the Internet to purchase things, download utility billing information, gaming and so on, it's inevitable that sometimes things will go wrong. There have been a number of high visibility data loss incidents:

The UK Government lost 37,000,000 items of data in 2007 relating to child benefit claimants.

The NHS loses patient records.

HMRC loses 25,000,000 records.

Three million learner driver's details went missing when a hard drive was lost in Iowa. What was the data doing in Iowa in the first place?

The latest loss was when the Sony Play Station Network was hacked and up to 70,000,000 users had at least their name, address and date of birth stolen and possibly their credit card details.

O2 disclosed details about their customers when "Technical changes we implemented as part of routine maintenance had the unintended effect of making it possible in certain circumstances for website owners to see the mobile numbers of those browsing their site."

250000 Twitter users' accounts have been hacked: BBC article.


It is my opinion that people, and authorities in particular, are prone to believe without question what IT systems give them. However, systems are subject to failure, data corruption, human error, and so on. This article shows how erroneous data can seriously affect someone's life when police and government organisation act on it without question. Link.