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Compromising Details Of RAF Officers May Be Exposed By September Data Theft

Details of the private lives of many senior RAF officers could be exposed or used for blackmail by foreign intelligence services and investigative journalists according to a memo.

The document was obtained under freedom of information laws by the Guardian newspaper and could spark a controversy as long-lasting as the current MP expenses scandal.

Back in September 2008, details of 50,000 current and former RAF employees were lost after three unencrypted hard disk drives were stolen from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at RAF Innsworth in Gloucestershire.

It is now known that the hard disk drives could contain sensitive files of 500 RAF personnel including vetting answers over drug abuse, extramarital affairs, debt, medical conditions and the use of prostitutes.

The AFP reported that the British ministry of defense will be taking action to protect individuals deemed at risk and said that there was no hard evidence that data was in the hands of criminals or foreign intelligence.

Last year, the ministry of defense was hit by a string of data losses and thefts. End of September, a handheld computer, containing MI5 Terrorist files, was stolen from a safehouse.

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Our Comments

Very bad publicity for the Ministry of Defense. It comes a few days after government staff were warned of the danger of having their smartphones stolen by foreign intelligence, through honeypot strategies, in a bid to get access to details.

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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.