Suffolk Council has been forced to apologise to 3,000 people following the loss of a laptop that contained their personal data.


A contractor lost the laptop when it was stolen from the home of an employee last week. According to the council it contained personal details such as names and addresses of licensing applicants, but not financial information.


The council also confirmed that the laptop was protected by a password, but the information was not encrypted.

Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “We have instructed the company to stop the work they were doing for us and we are investigating what further action we could take against them for this lapse of security.

“We had followed all the rules but we have to face the criticism caused by someone else's actions. I can only offer sincere apologies to those affected and reassure everyone that we will redouble our efforts to ensure that data in future is dealt with in as secure a fashion as possible.” 


The council has registered the names and addresses of those affected with CIFAS the fraud prevention service and the Information Commissioner has also been advised of the data loss.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that property including a laptop was stolen from a terraced house in Ashley Down, Bristol, but said that no arrests have been made.


Nick Lowe, Check Point's regional director for Northern Europe said: “There's still a long way to go before the majority of firms are adequately securing business data – whether theirs or someone else's.


“We recently found that over 50 per cent of UK public and private sector firms are still risking data breaches and leaks, because they don't have data encryption in place to secure information on laptops, handheld devices and USB memory sticks.


“Worryingly, this hasn't really changed since the HMRC data leak in November 2007. It's taking a very long time for the lessons to sink in.”