21 November 2007

Humor: The disk is in the mail

Although the victims of this UK blunder are not laughing, a UK satire site has provided its take on the issue.

Are you aware that the UK's tax and customs service recently lost banking data and personal details of some 7.25 British families - nearly half the population - when two computer disks went missing in the mail and the loss wasn't announced for three weeks? The lost data includes names, addresses, dates of birth, national insurance numbers and banking details.

The UK satire site, Social Scrutiny, has some genealogically interesting items in its posting. (For the sake of some readers who might be confused, satire means NOT true.)

In the light of the recent security breach at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), The Department of Social Scrutiny (DoSS) has issued the following statement on the subject of Identity Theft (IT) on behalf of The Government.

This statement contains vital advice and the answers to a number of questions you may have about what you can do to protect yourself from it, now that we have released your details into the public domain as part of our obligations under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act; you should read the following information carefully, then completely destroy the computer you are reading it on.

The "announcement" includes a list of steps you should consider to protect your compromised identity. The second suggestion is of genealogical interest.

You should, without delay, change your date of birth. This has the added advantage of enabling you to pick a more suitable star sign than the one you already have.

You should also alter your mother's maiden name by Retrospective Deed Poll. This is rather complicated, but does at least stop family historians in their tracks and will lead to the eventual collapse of the genealogy industry.

Instruct your bank to write to you in invisible ink, Icelandic runes or the secret code of the Puffin Club.

Fill out multiple Identity Card applications under different names and encourage your children to do the same.

Change your online security regime by altering your password from "password" to "newpassword".

And it goes on from there.
Do click on the Identity Card and Children links.

For more real information on the leak, see this New York Times story.

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