UK cannot blame us for data loss: Courier firm

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London, Nov 25 (UNI) The UK government faced fresh criticism last night as Courier firm, which was blamed for losing the computer disks containing data of 25 million Britons, said there was ''no evidence'' that it was responsible for the blunder.

Chancellor Alistair Darling, in his emergency statement in Parliament had mentioned the name of the Courier firm TNT.

Two other firms, Royal Mail and private courier DX, also operate postal services at Government department HM Revenue&Customs that lost the data.

Royal Mail admitted that an emergency search for the CDs took place at its office last week. Sources said a similar investigation took place at DX, although it has refused to confirm this.

The TNT spokesperson said, ''Neither the police nor HMRC has said there is 100 per cent proof that we handled the package. There are three sacks at the tax office in Washington - one for TNT mail, one for the Royal Mail and one for DX. It could have gone into any one of these.'' The disclosure heightens concern about Mr Darling's handling of the calamity. His initial claim - that the biggest loss of personal data was caused due to a blunder by a junior official - also proved to be false, Daily Mail reported.

The CDs were lost while being posted from HMRC's office in Washington, Tyne and Wear, to the National Audit Office (NAO) in London. It had requested partial information and warned HMRC to be careful with the data. But HMRC decided it could not afford 5,000 pounds to ''desensitise'' the CDs and sent the entire child benefit database in unregistered and unrecorded post.

In another blow to the government, six more discs filled with confidential data are reported to be missing.

The news has provoked panic, with thousands of people rushing to change their bank details.

UNI

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