Hilary Benn admits data loss in statement to House of Commons

DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn has made a statement to the House of Commons in response to Farmers Weekly’s story about the Rural Payments Agency losing farmers’ bank details.

Here is the transcript:

“I wish to inform the House that following routine inventory checks earlier this year, 38 RPA data backup tapes and one CD were unaccounted for.  35 have since been accounted for. 

“Of the remainder, one tape and the CD did not contain personal protected data, but the two remaining tapes potentially contained partial data in code.  Tapes of this sort can only be read with specialist equipment and detailed technical knowledge.  Furthermore, one of the two tapes was known to be faulty and had been reported as such since it could not be read. 

“I want to reassure farmers that there is no evidence that the tapes are in the public domain; that a forensic investigation was carried out, in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines; and that officials concluded there was only a low risk of any usable personal data having been lost.

“I will arrange for a copy of the investigation report to be placed in the Library of the House.”

Read Farmers Weekly’s verdict on the situation add your own thoughts. 

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