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50,000 RAF Personel At Risk After Unencrypted Hard Drives Are Stolen

Three hard drives containing the personal information of 50,000 current and former RAF employees have been stolen on Wednesday 17th, from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at RAF Innsworth in Gloucestershire, which left the Defence Secretary Des Browne fuming.

According to some sources, two of the hard drives contained potentially sensitive private data of people who have served in the RAF between 2002 and 2008. The third hard disk drive is said to contain no personal data although it could not be verified.

Details of more than 900,000 current and ex-service men and women are currently being held by the SPVA.

This latest data blunder comes a few days after CDROMs containing the details of more than 11,000 UK teachers were lost by Parcelforce; however, what happened in Innsworth is likely to have very serious consequences.

Firstly, the hard disk drives were stolen (rather than lost) in a military base which is supposed to be secured and the news story was revealed by the Daily Mirror on Saturday, prompting comments that the Ministry of Defence was trying to cover up the whole story.

Then there's the fact that there are rumours about the theft being an insider job and could potentially be linked to criminal gangs or terrorist groups.

At the beginning of the year, a plot to "kidnap and kill a Muslim soldier in the British army by cutting off his head like a pig" was unearthed the MI5 and the Police.

The MoD has set up a telephone helpline and email address to deal with any former and current RAF members and the cockup comes a few hours after the MI6 launched a campaign on Facebook to recruit more spies.