Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Voters' details on stolen laptop

A laptop
The laptops were taken from council offices in St Albans

Personal data on more than 14,000 voters has gone missing from the offices of a council in Hertfordshire.

The information was on one of four laptop computers stolen from St Albans City and District Council.

Files contained names, addresses, dates of birth, signatures, postal vote forms and statements used to confirm the identity of 14,673 voters.

Councillor Julian Daly, whose details were on the missing laptop, said the situation was "troubling".

The data was protected by two levels of security, the council said, but admitted there was a "slight risk" it could be accessed.

Everyone affected is to receive a letter to inform them of the situation.

I would like to apologise to residents and reassure them the council takes its responsibility to look after their personal data very seriously
Daniel Goodwin, council chief executive

Mr Daly, who is leader of the Conservative group at the Lib Dem controlled council, added: "That's all the information you need to set up a bank account. It's classic identity theft territory.

"It is troubling that the data was on a portable machine and it was accessible for someone to walk off with it."

The council is working with the police and Northgate Information Solutions, which manages its IT services, to investigate the incident.

There is no sensitive material on the other three laptops that have gone missing.

Daniel Goodwin, the council's chief executive, said: "I would like to apologise to residents and reassure them the council takes its responsibility to look after their personal data very seriously."

An internal investigation is also under way, which will determine whether further security measures are required.

The Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner's Office have been informed.



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