UK: Foster files left in street on unencrypted USB

Confidential information held by social services about children in care has been found on a pavement by a passer-by. Dozens of sensitive Stoke-on-Trent City Council documents were discovered on a memory stick left in Potteries Way, Hanley, yesterday.

The social services records of foster carers, family court proceedings, parenting assessments, child custody arrangements and the psychological history of youngsters were all included in the files.

The stick was found by IT consultant Gary Fox and reported to The Sentinel before one of our reporters handed it to the council. Now officials have launched an urgent investigation into how the security breach happened.

It is not known whether the social worker had permission to take the memory stick away from the council’s offices, or when it went missing.

But the information on the memory stick was not encrypted, which is against the council’s own policy.

Read more from The Sentinel. About 40 documents were on the unencrypted USB.

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