Leicester city council has managed to lose a USB data stick, according to a report in local paper.
This Is Leicestershire revealed that the memory stick in question is used to back-up data from council computers, and wasn't supposed to leave the premises.
The paper claims that the device has most likely been lost within the building. The stick contains medical details and home security codes for some 4,000 elderly and vulnerable people in the area.
Council Staff have been ordered to search their desks for the missing USB stick, and also to check to make sure they haven't accidentally taken it home. Because the data on the portable drive relates to entry codes to houses, these codes are being changed.
A council spokesperson told the newspaper: "While we have been assured by our supplier the information on the device is not accessible to anyone who may find it, we are taking every precaution to maintain the security of our LeicesterCare users."
"So, as a precaution, we are urgently carrying out changes to the keysafe codes of around 2,000 users. We are also contacting all of the main next of kin contacts for these users to advise them of the changes."
The Information Commissioner's Office has been informed of the loss, and has started its own investigation into the matter. The ICO can fine up to £500,000 for data breaches which it considers to be serious, and those in which the liable party hasn't taken enough due care or attention in their security process.
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