After a hacking group claimed earlier today that they have stolen the date from the 2011 Census, a 19-year-old believed to be a member of the group has been arrested in Essex. He has been named as Ryan Clearly and is currently in custody on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act offences.
The group, known as LulzSec, have claimed responsibility for a wide range of recent attacks including Sony, the NHS, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the CIA all in the last two months.
The following statement appeared on the internet this morning from the group:
We have blissfully obtained records of every single citizen who gave their records to the security-illiterate UK government for the 2011 census.
We're keeping them under lock and key though... so don't worry about your privacy (...until we finish re-formatting them for release).
Myself and the rest of my Lulz shipmates will then embark upon a trip to ThePirateBay with our beautiful records for your viewing pleasure!”
Big Brother Watch has campaigned strongly against the Census this year for a variety of reasons, primarily the intrusive lines of questioning and the danger of the data being lost or stolen. If this threat is true and the personal information of millions of people is released on the internet it will be a hammer blow to both Lockheed Martin and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS have released this statement:
“We are aware of the suggestion that census data has been accessed. We are working with our security advisers and contractors to establish whether there is any substance to this”
“The 2011 Census places the highest priority on maintaining the security of personal data. At this stage we have no evidence to suggest that any such compromise has occurred.”
So far no evidence has been provided to confirm the data was stolen and we hope that the claims are false, but if this amount of personal information has been hacked it only serves to highlight the folly of creating such a gargantuan database in the first place.
Big Brother Watch Director Daniel Hamilton has written for The Commentator about the possible consequences. Click here for the article.
UPDATE: The supposedly official Twitter account of LulzSec @LulzSec has denied any involvement in the statement or theft of Census data.