A memory stick that is believed to contain confidential information has been lost by a council employee.

Neath Port Talbot council has launched an internal investigation following the loss of the data about vulnerable children, after it was found and handed in by a member of the public.

 

It is believed to contain information on child protection and whether or not the children's parents claimed state benefits. One foster carer claimed the information could put children at risk. Choosing to remain anonymous, he told the South Wales Evening Post the children he cared for were ‘end-of-the-line kids'.

 

He said: “If the people around here knew about their backgrounds, I would probably get a brick through the window. In some cases if the information got out, it could put them at risk.”

 

Andrew Thomas, head of support services and commissioning education and lifelong learning at Neath Port Talbot council said: “Neath Port Talbot council has launched an internal investigation following the loss by a staff member of a memory stick containing confidential information. It is inappropriate for us to make any further comment until the investigation has been concluded. Action has been taken to inform the relevant authorities.”

 

Jason Holloway, regional sales manager Northern Europe for SanDisk commented:  “We don't know for sure if the data on the memory stick was encrypted or not – but with this type of sensitive data, organisations just cannot afford to take the risk. 

 

“Guidelines and policies don't stop devices being lost, or data falling into the wrong hands. The only way to protect data is to use mandatory encryption whenever it is moved or copied, and to ensure that users can't turn off, disable or work around that protection.”