Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has sent a strong signal to all technology firms working with the UK government after sacking PA Consulting following the memory stick containing data of up to 130,000 criminals.
The storage device contained information of prolific offenders, collected as part of the Jtrack programme, which aimed at providing law enforcement agencies with a single set of data.
The company had a three-year contract with the government worth GBP 1.5 million which has been terminated with immediate effect and all its other contracts worth another GBP 8 million per annum have also come under scrutiny.
PA Consulting's blunder caps a miserable year for the UK Government whose reputation has been thrown into turmoil ever since the huge scandal involving the loss of millions of records of Child benefit claimants since November last year.
The consulting firm was awarded a two-year contract, worth GBP 19 million, back in 2004 as an advisor on the ID card scheme and has been heavily involved in Home Office related projects like the creation of a visa application database.
The news come after EDS, another reputable IT company heavily involved with Government Computer projects, reportedly lost an external hard disk drive containing the data of 5,000 prison employees and kept mum for more than one year.