Data Mishaps

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:32 | Filed in Funnies, Technology

No, this is not the usual sort of data mishap. No one has lost any more USB sticks recently. Well, at least not since Leeds Council lost a stick with the unencrypted details of 5,000 children including the names, dates of birth, ethnicity, addresses and telephone numbers, child protection and state benefit information. Or since Neath Port Talbot lost theirs the other day.

But frankly it seems a miracle each day that goes by without some data blunder on this scale. No, I’m referring to the annual ‘data mishaps and recoveries’ list from Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery.

Previous years have included such highlights as the man who had soaked his hard drive, and then put it in the freezer because he had been told that this would fix it (2004); the data recovered from the memory stick used as a dog chew toy (2005); the data recovered from an external hard drive which had been left with a banana on it for so long that it has disintegrated and seeped into the circuits (2006), and from the CDs which had melted to the inside of their cases in a fire (2007).

What, I wondered, could be the top ten data mishaps for 2008?

Well, there were the usual stories (USB sticks do get broken, except of course when they have unencrypted details that ought to be protected on there); there was also the story of the lawyer’s laptop thrown overboard, but the best one — and indeed their top mishap for the year — was the tale of the man who hid his laptop in the oven for safekeeping, in order to keep it safe from burglars while he was on holiday.

It may well have been safe while he was on holiday, but when his wife came home and decided to roast a chicken…

You can catch up on the rest of this year’s top 10 data mishaps. Oh, and thanks to Ontrack data recovery for amusing me with this list every year…

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