They’re cr*p, aren’t they? Tracy Says was the name of a band at the UK Met Office. They got their name from the quote :-). Reading the appalling stories that “Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing” I am irrestistibly reminded of them. The Register has a bit more; thanks to Inel for the tip.
I have two reactions to this story: the first is the familiar feeling: these people are cr*p. Anyone vaguely competent in the real world would encrypt the data with something unbreakable – gpg is, as far as I know. But we all know that they wouldn’t do that, its probably something stupid.
The second is, that there should, in a vaguely sane world, be no problem releasing this data. Just because you have my name, dob, NI number, bank account number, it shouldn’t do you any good. The systems in place *pretend* that this isn’t enough, and they tediously inconvenience you pretending that this is true. But no-one has any confidence that this is true.
[Update: the issue of whether the data is encrypted or not is interesting. Finding any info is hampered by most of the participants not having a clue. I've seen various descriptions, ranging from "password protected" to "not encrypted". A further demonstration of the cr*pness of the system is that during the highly heated debate in parliament, not one of the prats standing up on their hind legs to shout about the loss of data thought to even inquire about this issue. I can only assume, given that Darling *didn't* say "don't worry, its secure", that it isn't -W]