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A computer disk containing the details of 2,000 members of the British Council has been lost.

But wait… it’s alright this time. A spokesman said…

The data on the disk was compressed using a proprietary algorithm

Compressed? Not encryped? Who uses a proprietary compression routine?

Furthermore, it is not an ordinary CD-ROM or DVD, but an optical disk that can only be read by a particular type of reader with a specific version of specialist software.

No, it probably is an “ordinary” CD-ROM or DVD 1 but they’ve just formatted it using some specialist software.

This software is no longer manufactured and cannot be purchased.

In other words, “we purchased some software that nobodies heard of and now it’s no longer made”.

These precautions ensure that the data is extremely secure in the unlikely event that the disk should fall into the wrong hands

What tot. Personally I think he’s got his facts wrong – for example, I suspect he is talking about the disk being encrypted rather than compressed – but if he’s not all he’s admitting that they’ve made wrong choices with their software and compress rather than encrypt their software. There’s nothing to stop somebody from working out the compression system, and nothing to say that none of the data can’t be read easily (compression doesn’t mean the information is hidden).

And why all the bizarre disk formatting and compression? Why are they sending personal details on disks in the post? Why aren’t they just using a strong encryption system is they are? These are the questions that really need asking.

  1. and odd that they don’t seem to know which type it is[]