Council tax data found on disk sold on eBay
A 49 year old man from Shepshed in Leicestershire has been arrested by Leicestershire Constabulary on suspicion of theft after the sale of a hard drive on eBay. The arrest was reported on 29 August in the Loughborough echo. The man has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
The story apparently broke in the Daily Mail after they were contacted by the buyer, a 36-year old Edinburgh resident who says he bought the drive for £6.99 in order to practice his computer skills. According to the Daily Mail the buyer was able to recover over 35,000 files, dating from 2002 until this July, using easily obtainable equipment and software. Data in the files included sufficient personal and banking details to enable identity theft.
Charnwood Borough Council seem to have only acted after the story appeared in the Daily Mail, when they contacted the buyer of the disk, who said he had previously tried to contact Charnwood's security officer, but had no response. The leader of Charnwood Borough Council, Richard Shepherd, said: "I regret the concern caused to Charnwood residents by this serious matter. We have worked vigorously to investigate the case. I am pleased that we have quickly been able to identify and track down the hard drive and deal with the situation appropriately". He added "We will give every assistance to the police in their further investigations and I will personally ensure a thorough review is also completed by the council to find out how this happened,".
This episode and others perhaps leads to the speculation that there are some individuals purposely buying up old drives in order to make money from the data they might recover from them.