173 patient medical documents this time. The cache of personal information was discovered in a bag near Kingston Hospital. The files contain data on cancer and HIV patients plus ‘information on those attending conception and addiction clinics, as well as sexual disease and hepatitis test results’.
Fortunately, the records are anonymised. But the hospital, ironically an NHS Trust, has no idea how the files escaped. Patients, or customers as they’re probably known these days, will receive a written apology. Assuming the notes don’t go missing in the post.
Over the past year, private data has been leaking faster than a denim wetsuit. The UK Government, for example, recently mislaid disks containing bank details of 25 million people. Our supposedly private details are leading a hedonistic life of freedom, getting lost in the post, misplaced in a ‘secure facility’, stolen, hacked, shared by P2P, lost again, and voluntarily published in the pages of The Sun by an idiot.
The whole sorry catalog can be read here. With the proposed introduction of ID cards, and new laws to make negligent data handling a criminal offence, information security is going to be one of the hot potatoes of the next few years.
If you have been affected by these issues, write to your MP. Or send us a tenner and we’ll let you have his or her mobile phone number, medical history and inside leg measurement.
Vaguely relevant image taken from Ian-S' Flickr photostream.