Missing data could embarrass British Air Force officers | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 25.05.2009
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Missing data could embarrass British Air Force officers

Missing hard drives from a British Royal Air Force base held information about drug use and the sex lives of senior officers, according to media reports.

Graphic showing a computer disc and a padlock

The military has refused to comment on the nature of the missing data

There is concern that the private information, which vanished in September 2008 from the RAF base at Innsworth, could be used to blackmail employees, according to a BBC report on Monday. Both the BBC and Britain’s Guardian newspaper say the stolen hard drives contained details on a variety of vices involving about 500 employees, including senior officers.

The data had reportedly been gathered during background checks on military personnel and on people applying for positions with the military.

The missing hard drives contained sensitive information, including answers to questions about drug abuse, extramarital affairs, criminal inquiries and contact with prostitutes.

Britain's defense ministry has refused to confirm the precise details of the lost data but says it is looking into how to protect officers deemed at risk.

Not the first scandal of its kind

The reported data mishap comes on top of the government's loss last year of data on the banking details of millions of people who receive child support payments.

More recently, plans for a secret police sting against suspected Islamists were seen protruding from the brief case of Britain's anti-terror chief and captured on film by reporters in front of the prime minister's office in Downing Street.

th/AP/dpa

Editor:Susan Houlton

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