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Disabled child's personal data lost

PUBLISHED: 09:38 11 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:59 08 July 2010

A Norfolk couple said they are living in fear after their disabled son's personal data and their own contact details were lost by a company working for the BBC.

A Norfolk couple said they are living in fear after their disabled son's personal data and their own contact details were lost by a company working for the BBC.

David and Jackie Vear have received an apology from the corporation, informing them that information including their son's name and birthday, as well as their own address and phone numbers, had been taken.

The data had been collected by independent TV firm Objective Productions which was looking to make a BBC1 food programme for eight to 12-year-olds.

About 250 children responded to the appeal for Gastronuts, and details were stored on a memory stick which is now thought to have been stolen from a vehicle belonging to a member of staff at Objective Productions.

Mr Vear, an IT consultant from Necton, near Swaffham, said it was not the first time his son's details had been stolen.

Last November, two discs which stored the whole child-benefit database, including the 11-year-old's sensitive details, disappeared from HM Revenue & Customs. “I'm an IT consultant and I understand the dangers of identity theft,” he said.

“Our son's details were lost by HM Revenue & Customs last year. Now we've got this.

“You just cannot be too careful. We hear so many stories about identities being stolen.”

Mr Vear said he had also been concerned about the fact that the company had taken the dates of their holidays.

In his letter to Mrs Vear, BBC children's controller Richard Deverell wrote: “I am sorry to let you know Objective have informed us that a computer memory stick has gone missing. The memory stick is likely to have contained the information you gave. I know this situation may cause you some concern. I offer you my sincere apologies and my assurances that we are taking all action possible to mitigate the consequences of this regrettable incident.”

A BBC spokesman said an investigation has been launched and added: “This data was not lost by the BBC itself, but stolen from an independent production company working for CBBC. However we took the issue very seriously. There is absolutely no evidence this data has been misused and the measures we took were entirely precautionary.”

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