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Nearly 900,000 Ambulance Data Records Lost By Courier

The Scottish Ambulance Service has acknowledged the loss of a portable storage device which contained details of nearly 900,000 calls made to the Paisley Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre near Glasgow, Scotland in the past two years.

The disc was sent on the 9th of June to MIS Emergency Services Ltd in Manchester which is responsible for dealing with the IT system used by the Scottish Ambulance Service but it was reported to the Scottish government only 10 days later.

The portable disk was lost by a TNT courier in transit and included the names of patients, addresses of incidents and phone numbers; the files however are understood to be encrypted and password protected, which will make it very difficult for criminals to access them.

Moreover, because they do not contain any bank details, they have very little commercial value especially since some of the data can be mined from public domain data (directories or census).

Still, this is the second time in a month that a disc containing sensitive information is lost by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The incident is the latest in a series of embarrassing blunders which saw details of 25 million child benefit claimants lost in the post, a couple of laptops containing highly sensitive information being stolen and secret documents being left on commuter trains.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.