Unencrypted data on 33,000 children has been lost after a laptop was stolen from Wigan Borough Council.
The laptop was stolen on 27 January from the council’s offices but the authority only disclosed the incident, more than two months on. Other laptops were also stolen at the time but it is not known what information they contained.
The data included names, dates of birth and postcodes of the children, aged between seven and 16, and any special needs they havewas contained in a database of school exam results and related information.
A spokesperson at Wigan Borough Council told Computerworld UK the data was not encrypted and could be accessed using a password.
The authority has reported the theft to the police and the Information Commissioner. It is now writing to parents and carers of the children affected.
Nick Hudson, director of children and young people’s services at Wigan council, said: “We have taken the step of informing the public of the borough about the theft because we believe people deserve to know what has happened.”
“Apart from the names, the data on the children is in the form of numbers and codes and there are no comments or individual case notes,” he added. The council is now investigating the theft.