Dutch government loses hard drives with data of 6.9 million registered donors

External hard drives stored all donor data from February 1998 to June 2010.

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The Dutch government said it lost two external hard disk storage devices that contained the personal data of more than 6.9 million organ donors.

The hard drives stored electronic copies of all donor forms filed with the Dutch Donor Register between February 1998 to June 2010, officials from the Dutch Minister of Health, Wellness, and Sport said earlier this week.

The disks were last used in 2016 and were placed inside a secure vault for storage, as Dutch authorities rotated to using newer drives.

Authorities discovered that the two disks had gone missing earlier this year when they purged old donor registration paper forms and wanted to remove their electronic copies.

"The hard disks, which also had to be destroyed, were no longer present in the vault and still cannot be found," the Dutch Donor Register said in a statement yesterday.

Donor details for more than 6.9 million Dutch people -- some of who are believed to have passed -- are now missing, authorities said.

This includes details such as first and last name, gender, date of birth, address at the time of the form, choice for organ donations, ID numbers, and a copy of the user's signature.

Dutch officials claim they've seen no evidence that anyone had tried to use the data. Furthermore, they say that because the donor forms don't include copies of Dutch IDs and other official documents, the data is very unlikely to be of use for identity theft or fraud.

News of the lost disks came to light yesterday, when Hugo De Jonge, Minister for Health, Wellness, and Sport notified the Dutch parliament of the incident. Officials never said if the data contained on the hard drives was encrypted or not.

The Minister said the lost drives had no impact on the Donor Register's ability to provide accurate donor information.

The Netherlands has an estimated total population of 17.4 million citizens, of which, almost half are believed to be registered donors.