Teachers learn about data breaches

A disk holding records on over 11,000 teachers has been lost in the post, echoing previous government data breaches.

Teachers in England have been the latest group of people to have their very own data breach, after a disk was lost by a courier.

The disk carrying registration records of 11,423 teachers was sent via a courier by a contractor to the General Teaching Council (GTC) office in Birmingham, but it did not arrive. The problem was noticed on 12 September.

The records include names, addresses and teacher ID numbers, but no financial information, the GTC said.

Like the data breach at HM Revenue and Customs last year, the disk was sent via a registered courier, but failed to arrive. A full search of the courier's vehicles and offices failed to turn it up.

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Unlike the HMRC incident, the disk was encrypted. The GTC said that the evidence suggested the disk was simply mislaid by the courier.

GTC registrar Alan Meyrick said in a statement: "Because we recognise that no encryption system can ever be entirely infallible, we have taken urgent steps to put additional security measures in place for affected records."

All affected teachers were sent a letter this week notifying them of the breach, and can contact the GTC on 0870 001 0308 if they have any questions. The council has already been in the process of moving to secure electronic data transfers to avoid such incidents.

Meyrick added: "We are taking this issue very seriously; we know that incidents like this are concerning and deeply regret any worry caused to teachers involved."

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