back to article TSA: We're not saying our hard drive is gone but...

The universe has an odd tendency to absorb certain objects into the oblivion of un-existence. Television remotes, single socks, car keys, lighters, external hard drives containing 100,000 employee records, pen caps; they all come and go like tiny dimensional travelers. And such is the order of things that missing socks and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not singling out the TSA, but...

    And this is the government that our politicians are telling us is capable of managing little things like our health care, drug prescriptions and privacy?

    I'm sorry, but someone in TSA management needs to not only have their ass kicked, but charged with negligence and then thrown in jail for the next 50 or 60 years. Same goes for any other dumbass government employee who takes a device holding sensitive public/personal data outside the confines of a secured office. Anymore, personal information is more valuable than gold as there's almost no limit as to how much fraud can be illegally committed using someones private info.

    And while I expect elected politicians to screw up a two car parade, I guess it's my own damn fault for thinking for a millisecond that the typical government employee was any smarter...

  2. Kevin Thorson


    These are the people responsible for security???

  3. Chris

    Don't forget

    Don't forget guys... As the article stated, the TSA is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Yes, that same DHS which has failed every cyber-security exercise for the past three years (except it's most prized recent grade of D). But yes, it's a sad and telling day when the people in charge of our security can't even secure their own computers. Hey, does anyone know if the hard drive ever really existed at all? Maybe it's another Los Alamos incident :)

  4. Chris Miller


    Short of strip-searching everyone going in and out of the building, it's almost impossible to prevent portable devices from going 'missing'. The solution is not to find and destroy the person responsible for losing it, but to enforce strong encryption on any device that may hold personal information (and that means all of them).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing is impossible

    How about preventing data being written to a device by disabling and removing all usb ports, etc ?

    Strip searches are not necessary - just a modicum of imagination.

  6. Ian McNee

    God (TM) Bless the Land of the Free Inc!

    Oh yes it's all the fault of that scape-goat so beloved by the 'free enterprise' nerks: the public employee! Nothing to do with the fact that a whole government infrastructure (I'm talking the DHS for the yanks who like their movie plots simple, thoroughly explained and acted by goodies and baddies in white and black hats respectively) was created purely to fight a largely mythical threat and serve the political agenda of a rabidly neo-con US administration intent on grabbing Middle Eastern oil and lining their pockets (Halliburton et al.). This is precisely what happens when you appoint a bunch of people based on their unquestioning political affiliation rather than on their demonstrable skills and ability to carry out a particular function.

    The breathtaking and repeated incompetence in the DHS can only be explained by the supreme over-confidence engendered by the messianic zeal of those running the place. I can just hear their head of IT security: "Why would we need a firewall when we have the holy spirit to protect us?" Actually that reminds me a little of the slightly more secular attitude of of the chinless Oxbridge wonders that swell the ranks of Blairite political advisers in central government here in the UK.

    Ok that's enough of a rant at this time in the morning :)

  7. Peter

    Portable storage??

    I think the even bigger question is why was it on portable storage?

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Clearly they need new procedures

    The only way they're going to find this drive is if everyone in the TSA is made to go through their own rigorous well-honed security procedures.

    They'll all stand in a line in a dark corridor somewhere where officious high-school dropouts bark orders at them like Marine Corps drill instructors with toothache. Perfume, lip balm and bottled water can be cheerily cast into the nearest trash, or alternatively, neatly wrapped in ZipLoc for posterity. The internees - sorry - fellow citizens - are ready for irradiation in the scantastic TSA-Property-tango!

    All together now - grip your ID and ticket between your teeth, slither, slide and shrug off that jacket and coat; mambo those shoes on to that cute little plastic tray, shimmy your pocket change and keys right alongside. Then - and only then - slide that laptop out of its carry case, no dropping it now! All the time movin', movin', movin' to the crazy timeless beat of "You there! Faster, we ain't got all day!"

    If that doesn't work; there's still time to get your green slips ready - yes, it's the sudden-death no-fruits or vegetables US VISIT Immigration challenge!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That little thing known as...

    Oh My Gawd! Can anyoner remember that little 6 word thingy used to store information centrally and SECURELY?...

    its SERVER i guess...

    It's like sending a confidential report by mail in an opened envelope.


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security - What Security?

    This isn't the first time something portable has gone missing. When will companies realise that you cannot store details like that on portable hard drives, laptops, usb keys etc.?

    These items go walkies all the time - even if it's encrypted most determined individuals can probably get hold of some of the information.

    Baring in mind most items are really stolen for their resale value, important data is probably wiped, but it still begs the question of when will company security procedures mean that nothing that includes personal details is held on mobile hardware?

    I think my finance is sick to death of me swearing at the TV every time the news reports another laptop going walkies and it's about time things were sorted out - it'll be a hell of a lot less embarrassing for the companies involved too.

  11. Steve Evans


    So are these the people who the EU happily gave all the European passenger data too? All that essential data like credit card number etc?

    Ooooh goody!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three dimensional?

    Three-dimensional time-space? And the problem is a missing drive? There's a whole dimension gone now!

  13. Andy Davies

    how I spent the holidays

    >yes, it's the sudden-death no-fruits or vegetables US VISIT Immigration challenge!

    nope! it's just 300 perfectly harmless wage slaves going on holiday to Benidorm.

    AndyD 8-)#

    p.s. Mr. Blair, I really really object to having to take my shoes off at the f*cking airport - but really!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you kidding me?

    Isn't this one of the government agencies that is supposed to protect our safety when we travel? This is the utmost ridiculous situation I have heard speak of yet. Apparently if they cannot protect it's own employees from leaking vital information, then how can we trust them with our lives. This is not the first time that personal information has been stolen from the government, but let's hope it's the last.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is actually a big improvement from previous "incidents." Every so often they do inventories and find out that laptops and firearms are missing, often hundreds of them. To make matters worse, the kit is usually missing for nearly a year before they even figure it out. TSA, HOHC or DHS, or whatever the appropriate TLA is, has done an admirable job in discovering that it was missing in only a few days time. The bigger question is what else was on the drive that they don't bother to mention?

    Move along, nothing to see here, happens all the time and at all levels of government from the local sheriff all the way up to [insert current big gov't acronym]. They have been doing it since they have gotten things worth stealing... err, losing. Oh and don't get too smug because it's only a matter of time before your FAV GOV TLA losses something too. ;)

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