Laptop Theft - the utter brassneck of the MoD


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Hello, once again. One of my siblings was connected with the Royal Navy a few years ago, and has apparently been affected by this here, Laptop Theft. I'm going to transcribe the letter sent to her at our home address. I will point out the obvious incidences of breathtaking effrontery but please, feel free to add your own.

Dear Sir/Madam,


You may already have heard that an MOD laptop computer was stolen in Birmingham on the night of 9/10 January 2008. If you haven't heard about this event, please disregard this letter, tear it up and throw it in the bin. Move along please ... nothing to see here ... I am sorry to say that our investigation of this theft has concluded that some of your details are among those stolen.

I wanted to write to you personally to apologise and to explain what has happened, as I know you will be worried about possible risks of identity theft or to your personal security. The police are now conducting a thorough investigation. You'll see later that no such explanation of what has actually happened materialises. Nor even, what they are going to do about it. Or, more pointedly, who is responsible for allowing personal data to be readily stealable.
After consultation with the police about the impact on their investigation were the theft to become public knowledge , space, comma, space - who staffs these letters at the top, huh? we did not immediately make public the loss of the data, and that is also why we have not written to you until now. HQ1, make a pipe. 'Fire, Fire, Fire! Fire in someone's pants' I should emphasise that there is no evidence to suggets that your details are being used for criminal purposes.Some words missing there. Maybe 'yet' or 'so far'?

The information relates to 600,000 people, including yourself, who expressed an interest in joining the Royal Navy, Royal Marines or the Royal Air Force. It is possible that some of your passport details, National Insurance number, driver license details, family details, doctor's address and National Health Service number might be included. It does not, however, include any of your bank or building society details. So, to recap: Details allowing any fraudster to - enter or leave the country at will, fraudulently obtain goods, set up bank accounts, obtain road tax, get a mortgage, get into premises under false pretence and basically diffuse oneself into the identity of another person. Because the MOD plays fecking blackjack with people's details. Because they don't give a dog's cock. So no biggy, then? Nothing to panic about ... yet? With the wind in the right direction and a twist in good fortune, the thing could have been found in a day or so and it could have been kept under wraps ... despite the fact that an entire hard disc can be copied via USB in about the same time it apparently took to write this letter?

You should not give out personal details if anyone contacts you unexpectedly but take a note of their name and telephone number. Take a note of this. It's saying, ' ... if anyone you don't trust asks you for personal details about your life (as if your privacy means shit anyway now we've exposed you to every continental fraudster and terrorist on the surface of the planet) then don't tell them, because they're really naughty people trying to make your life really, really bad.' Watch and learn now, readers ... If any of the passwords you use to access personal accounts (for example the internet) use any of your personal data, you should consider changing them. So, all the stuff you have painstakingly memorised, kept safe and aligned to birthdates, anniversaries and other 'personal' events ... forget them. Go back to using the shite, nine-letter Polskadromes that we use to log onto Navystar. Sorry. Again.

We have set up a free telephone helpline. If you are concerned, call the MOD on 0800 085 3600 between the hours of 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday. Of course, speaking about such matters on the phone is DEAD secure. You can also e-mail us on [email protected] or write to us at the address above. You will need to prove your identity before we can answer detailed questions about your personal information. This should be any two of the following:

A photocopy of the page of your passport with your photograph on it
A photocopy of your driving license (both card and paper document)
A photocopy of a recent utility or other bill, such as mobile phone bill showing your home address. We do not need to see the details of the bill, just the address
A letter from your employer confirming your home address.
A photocopy of any letter from a body such as your bank, building society or council showing your home address. We do not need to see the contents of the letter, just the address

Can anyone spot the mistake, here?

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, has personally directed the MOD Police to provide thef ullest support to the investigation and we are carrying out a thorough internal review to improve our security procedures for the protection of all personal data. He will get round to doing this when he has a moment in between his other job - Minister of State of Scotland.

I understand how serious this theft is and that you will be concerned about how it might affect you. NO SHIT! Our security has fallen well short of our own high standards. Wrong. The high standards were never there in the first place. For a system to exist that allows a database to exist in an area where a simple act of robbery results in the personal security of seven Wembley Stadiums-full of eager-eyed, willing volunteers to be stored, where the PUS pens such a palliative, arrogant issue of non-intent is skirting on the unbelieveable. I don't want apologies on behalf of my daughter (my name and address is obviously now amongst the stolen items, here) I want resignations, sackings and, if need be, imprisonment. How dare people of such incompetence be allowed such levity. How dare the MoD offer a 'we would have told you, but ... ' excuse, and how dare ministers consider their tenure safe and tenable after an act of outstanding stupidity. I can see the arse-covering now - the junior ministers lining themselves up as patsies and the 'it had nothing to do with me at such a lofty position' speeches. These people can't be fecking trusted with our details. How can we trust them with our management? I would like to apologise again on behalf of the MOD. With respect - feck off!

For the record, this is the barely-respectable cretin who 'wrote' the letter. Given its grammar and clumsy manner, to me we might as well give the job to Jonny Vegas

Bill Jeffrey
Permanent Under Secretary of State
Ministry of Defence

Levers Aligned


War Hero
I've seen MDP conduct an investigation into wrongdoing… a suitable suspect will be required to fall on his sword without loss of pension, and everyone will pat themselves on the back for a job well done.


War Hero

10/10 old chap, you never cease to amaze and never fail to have me pissing my pants! Keep up the good work.


Have a nice day


War Hero
Levers very well done.

by the way you owe me a keyboard, half a cup of tea shot out of my nostral whilst reading it.

Sorry about the leverty, about such a really important issue, but thanks.



Always knew there was something amiss about the entire thing.
I phoned the MoD helpline and they told me some of my details were on the laptop but could not disclose those details over the phone (which is less secure than say... an RN Officers laptop in Birmingham).
I can write to the MoD asking for them to send me a letter back indicating which details were on that laptop.
That's all well and good...
But it doesn't make me feel any more secure, in fact about just as secure as the knowledge that they are "watching very closely regarding the data lost so they will notice any suspicious activity".


War Hero
What I want to know is why were my personal details in the database despite joining the mob in 1997?

A letter was sent to my old address today in Ireland seemingly. I'm not fcuking happy.


War Hero
A couple of people I know have also had letters but these have been sent to their NOK (parents) address as that is the address that the database (which was stolen) had on record. One of these has been in for some considerable number of years so I echo Matlots comment about why they were still held on file?

I'm still waiting on the opportunity to phone my mum to see if she received one but, given that addresses have changed so many times since I joined up I have absolutely no doubt that it will be received by the wrong person. Like the Matlot, my family all live in Ireland so there is a double whammy in terms of security - THEIR SECURITY. Personally I’m more concerned about the fact that NOK addresses will be compromised as they present a softer target than we do. Too much to ask for someone to have thought this one through.

Great stuff guys. Well done.



War Hero
I concur with Silver hence I'm going to be getting legal advice on this. I'm not really thrilled about this letter being sent to my old address considering I've never used it as a NOK Address and it was opened by the current occupants who happened to know my brother's phone number and contacted him.

Nice one MOD for fcuking up my Persec in Southern Ireland...


the_matelot said:
What I want to know is why were my personal details in the database despite joining the mob in 1997?

A letter was sent to my old address today in Ireland seemingly. I'm not fcuking happy.

Especially as laptops were a bit of a rarety in 1997.

There are signs all over Drake now saying that laptops are NOT to be removed from MoD property without full disk encryption and no dvd, flash drives etc are to be removed with personal data on them.

Now do you feel secure?