UK defense ministry loses 28 laptops this year

U.K. defense minister Bob Ainsworth reveals his ministry has lost 28 laptops, 20 USB sticks and four PCs this year.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The U.K. Ministry of Defense has admitted to losing 28 laptops since the beginning of the year.

Defense minister Bob Ainsworth revealed the figure last week in response to a written parliamentary question by shadow secretary of state for defense Liam Fox.

The laptops were lost between January 01 and May 11, 2009. The Ministry of Defense also admitted to losing 20 flash drives and 4 PCs in the same period.

Ainsworth said that procedures were being put in place to militate against MoD data loss incidents and mitigate error.

"The MoD takes any loss of information and associated media storage devices very seriously and has robust procedures in place to mitigate against such occurrences," said Ainsworth. "New processes, instructions and technological aids are also being implemented to mitigate human errors and raise awareness of every individual in the department."

The Ministry of Defense was unable to confirm at the time of writing how many of the laptops and USB sticks had been encrypted.

In January, Des Browne, the secretary of state for defense, admitted that the MoD had lost three unencrypted laptops in 2008, one of which containing the details of up to 600,000 defense personnel. At the time, Browne said that the MoD had "clear systems in place" that "ought to have been respected".

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