back to article French spooks have access to UK forces' travel data

Contractors working for the Ministry of Defence hold personal information on hundreds of thousands of service personnel and other MoD employees on computer systems located abroad, it has been revealed. Approximately 180,000 personal records are held in France and more than 310,000 are held in the USA, with thousands more in …


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  1. Slugster

    No problem....

    ...just tell the French to hand over the data and they will surrender it without a fight!

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Congratulations to you sir!

      The most thinly disguised "Godwin" I have ever seen!

      1. Slugster

        @Fuzzy Wotnot: Thanks!

        I thought I would get in there straightaway and get the end result over and done with!!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    UK-USA-AUS-CAN-NZ axis

    Alliance would be a better term, old five eyes, AUSCANNZUKUS. Surely the countries that make up the UKUSA Agreement, would be a better trading block to create than the EU? But I suppose we are in the EU to keep an eye on them. LOL

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Did you look at the others?

    Transport (Driving Standards Agency) has a contract which stores the personal information of ONE MILLION candidates for the UK driving theory test in the USA. [1] It's amusing that you think there is a bigger threat from our European partners, who have all implemented the EU Directive on personal data in their own laws, than from the USA, which merely has a self-certified Safe Harbor scheme. Oh, and the Patriot Act...

    Next question: can we see the DSA's Privacy Impact Assessment for that contract?


    1. Anonymous Coward

      I love the Pavlovian reaction

      Ooh, Froggies, bad. Ooh Yanks - more, more.

      Actually, the latter have done and will do us far more harm. In almost every affair in which UK has been involved, the USA has actively or quietly been a spoiler or denigrator while pretending to help, if rather luke-warmly, on occasion. In some cases, e.g. IRA (not dead yet), our dear friends have been the main funders and supporters, in money, refuge, political pats on the back with Whitehouse visits. American companies routinely overcharge us. American rules seem very effective at strangling UK businesses in USA.

      Come on, grow up and look at reality. They have less data protection (and none for us foreigners) than any European country and fewer qualms about having a peek for their own purposes. You must be idiotic to think that they are trustworthy.

  4. It wasnt me
    Thumb Up


    Regardless of the security implications of storing the data abroad, wouldn't it show better judgement by the government to spend the money in the U.K. Especially as the country is going to shit with no jobs anywhere (or so we are told). Is there really not a british firm that can offer these services?

    1. Desk Jockey

      They did

      I think you will find that the MOD DID contract a British firm who then outsourced some of it abroad. Don't delude yourself into thinking banks, supermarkets etc are any different. At least the MOD probably put the words "Must comply with security provision xxx" in the contract so at least the company didn't send it somewhere really dodgy! There was a recent case of a bank (forget who) who outsourced to South Africa and the backups disks containing thousands of customer details were lost.

      This really isn't much of a story (slow news day huh?) and if the Germans, French and US want to devote lots of resources to data mining the jollies of military and civilian personnel, it is their money to waste!

      Five eyes is about PROPER information, some of which might even be true and interesting! ;)

    2. Jacqui

      ~2UKP per day?

      The far east workers can be had for as little as 2-3UKP per day.

      A UK company cannot compete unless they use cheap "illegals" from poland/india/pakistan/...

      Yes folks, the midlands sweatshops are not all turning out knock off clothes.

      We even have local councils outsourcing IT sysadmin roles to the "Injuns", after TUPINg thier existing staff to one of the big five for a short period.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Wait a sec - 85,000 ?

    "There are just under 200,000 people in the armed forces and approximately 85,000 civil servants in the MoD".

    Ship out all 85,000 personal (including salary) details to the US. They signed the contracts, they deserve to eat their own dog food. I think we nee compentant 8,500 Civil Servants in the MOD, not 10x that number of fools who can't buy warships, helicopters, land transport or basic needs for our troops.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      @AC 1438Z - Not 85,000, compentant [sic] or otherwise

      Mr Page's data are incorrect. The most recent MOD Annual Report at shows 75,942 permanent civilian staff and 196,420 in the Armed Forces. The confusion probably arises because he is including staff in the trading funds and agencies.

      A small proportion of those, around 14,000, are employed in equipment procurement, buying the things you mention and hundreds more, as well as supporting in-service equipment.

      For comparison, there are nearly 15,000 civilians in the Army TLB, and over 30,000 in the "Centre". Details of the breakdown are available from

      Stop spouting nonsense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        No intention to spout nonsense - my perception is the guys risking their lives are repeatedly let down by the MOD Civil Servants at their desks - particulary around specification, procurement, logistics and management of suppliers. I'm sure there are many competant staff (who don't mis type competant) who are let down by others.

        It'd be good to see a pie chart of what the 75,942 Civil Servants do - administration, HR, Procurement, R&D etc. I don't even know what trading funds and agencies are.

        The links provided are excellent - it's good to see like DASA exist.

      2. The Real Loki


        It's not 1438Z - it's 1338Z.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Wrong ?

          It'd be 1338J, it was 1438Z surely ?

          1. Rupert Rumblebum


            `Mummy should have taught you how to read the clock when you were little

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Will continue until government recognises managing data *is* a core govt activity.

    BTW for purposes of EU data security Israel is *in* the EU.

    That is all.

  7. nyelvmark

    This is going to seriously affect our plans annex France and Germany.

    Oh, shit. Did I say that? Look, you didn't hear it from me, OK?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    it's for your own protection

    just bend over and man up!

  9. Msan

    So French spooks might know where English spooks

    are going before they do? Seems odd.

  10. Rupert Rumblebum

    Why oh why is this permitted?

    This revelation scares the hell out of me and I am extremely glad that I had no idea of this problem when I was still in the RAF for all those years. After all, the bloody Frogs could not even keep their own secrets secret, as they have demonstrated over the years, but that could have been because they suffered from communist infiltration in their unions, just as we did. However, that does not absolve our service chiefs from their" bounden duty" to keep the movements of our service personnel confidential at all times, never mind 24 hours later plus a minute. This still gives a potential enemy information regarding the placement of key personnel and possibly the location of key units. We were able, during the 39/45 war, to track the movements of German troops with great accuracy and thus to have knowledge of possibilities of future conflict areas. Surely, this knowledge has been stored by our "lords and masters" and if not they should be castigated for their lack of diligence and carelessness with our troops lives and well being. Kill all the lawyers, as "Willie would have said.

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