Anyone who has ever used a database knows, the data will be normally easily accessible through a simple query to get a file that can be opened in Excel. The columns of the unnecessary information - which in this case was the bank account details - can be deleted, and the revised file saved. Bingo, you have what you need.
Unless you are a Government Agency, apparently, who have contracted out the IT to some multi-national, who then charge a reputed £10,000 for writing such a query and producing the data in the revised form. So you rely on under-trained, ill-managed, junior staff to dump the data on disk and you wonder about the consequences.
But why have junior staff got access to this data in the first place, and what is to stop them running off another copy to sell in the pub on Saturday remains unanswered. I suspect the answers will actually give us all a big fright.
But there is another issue. The Government Secure Intranet is there to allow department to communicate securely. It's only two cd's of data, so why weren't they attached to a file and emailed to the National Audit Office.
Come to think of it, why did the NAO ask to get such sensitive data posted to it? Do they often ask departments to post highly sensitive documents? Perhaps they need to audit their procedures? If Sir John Bourne is back from lunch.
The claim by Alasdair Darling that the proposed National ID Register will be immune from this sort of leak as it will hold biometric data is as ludicrous as it is complacent.
What the imbecile is saying is that your digital fingerprints and retina scan will be of no use to any criminal as they cannot print out the fingerprint. Of course, any self respecting criminal would use the personal data and the electronically coded fingerprint over the internet to prove that they are you. But then the MP's seem to inhabit a parallel universe where crooks do unforeseen bad things.
And the very latest reports that yet another two disks are missing just fills you with confidence that the lunatics are running the asylum to the appropriate low standard.