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More Data Mayhem : MI5 Terrorist Files Disappear After Mini Laptop Is Stolen

A thief stole a handheld computer from a house in Greater Manchester after someone left the windows open; the computer, probably a sub-laptop, contained data on the MI5 and its fight against terrorism.

The device was stolen on the 28th of September from a MI5 safehouse (ed: is it really a "safe" house then?) and comes after a string of similar data losses has struck both MI5 and MI6.

A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the data on the handheld computer was encrypted but failed to say whether there were any backup.

Earlier this year, top secret files have been left on the train by a senior civil servant and a few days ago, a digital camera containing secret files was purchased for £17 on Ebay. The camera apparently belonged to an MI6 Spy.

To cap things up, a hard drive containing the details of 50,000 RAF members were stolen from a RAF base in Gloucestershire.

Since 2004, more than 650 laptops have been stolen or lost by the Ministry of Defence according to a recent report which also identified some glaring shortcomings within the MoD.

Désiré Athow

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.