NEW DATA SCANDAL - DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER- AUGUST 2008

This story is the second great exclusive our clients have supplied to the Daily Mail newspaper about personal data being sold on eBay.


The exclusive story relates to how a computer expert bought a disk containing details of council tax payers in Leicestershire.


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This follows on from a previous front page exclusive about more than a million customers full bank details being sold on eBay.


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New data blunder as details of thousands of council taxpayers are found on 6.99 computer sold on eBay

Personal details of council tax payers have turned up on a computer sold on eBay - a day after data on a million bank customers was found in the same way.

Thousands of bank account numbers, sort codes, names and addresses were stored on the hard drive owned by a borough council.

Further personal details were found including conversations about householders' divorces and family bereavements. The computer was sold on eBay to a Scottish computer expert for just 6.99.

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'Shocking': The hard drive which contained the personal details of council tax payers

Officials at Charnwood Borough Council in Leicestershire promised to investigate the apparent data breach urgently.

The Mail revealed yesterday that the bank details, maiden names and even signatures of more than a million bank customers had been found on a computer sold for 35 on eBay.



Computer experts said the two eBay sales were the 'tip of the iceberg' of the secondhand computer market. They warned that thousands of used computers were sold every year without data being properly deleted.

The latest discovery was made by the Scot who bought the hard drive to practise his technical skills.

He received it in the mail on August 15 and - using data recovery equipment easily obtainable on the internet - discovered 35,000 files. They included council tax bills, photographs of council staff and internal memos. 

The Edinburgh-based 36-year-old, who asked not to be named, said he had tried to contact Charnwood's security officer but had no response.

'I can see from these documents who is having financial problems, and who is getting bailiffs sent round to their house,' he said.

Affected?


' There is even information about a death on there. I was stunned to find 35,000 items - documents, photos, memos.

'There is a lot of stuff many people would find interesting, like bank account numbers and sort codes from payments made over the phone.

'These organisations should know better and know how to handle the disposal of people's personal information.'

Data on the hard drive dates from 2002 to this July.

In one telephone transcript, a council employee notes that a female taxpayer, whose name and address is given, receives just 70 a week from her job in a pub, is separated from her husband and has 'no goods worth chasing'.

One resident of Syston in Leicestershire, whose name, address and phone number were listed in a file on the hard drive, said she was horrified by the discovery.

The Information Commissioner's Office has pledged to investigate. 



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