Lulzsec, a cracker establishment which popped up in May, has claimed to have accessed the complete records of the 2011 UK Census. According to the BBC, the main guy involved seems to have been arrested.
Whether or not any of this actually turns out to be true is not really the issue. The UK government’s appalling ineptitude at all things security related pretty much makes such a leak a matter of when, not if.
What sticks in my craw about this is that is that we all knew such data loss was going to happen, whether by malice or incompetence. It happened with DVLA records, it happened with child support records, it happened recently with medical records, the list goes on.
But despite the seeming inevitability of the data becoming public (and don’t forget, a breach only has to happen once) most of us are happy to hand over this information. Or, in the case of dealing with the government, compelled to hand it over by Law.
Is it not about time for us all to get over the idea that handing information about ourselves to a third party – either public or private – is in any way a good idea?
The next time you’re asked to fill out a form or complete a questionnaire take a moment to consider who will see it, what damage it could do should it fall into the wrong hands.
Above all, ask whether they even need the information in order to provide you with the service?
Most of the time they don’t.