In the week, a company announced a luxury laptop it claimed it could sell for $1 million (yes, seriously – it has a diamond on/off button), another less expensive laptop has gone missing, this time from a public sector hospital in the UK. In fact, a Nottinghamshire NHS trust lost three of them on the same day only a week ago, one of which contained patient records.
This is now such a common occurrence that we propose a special government website we set up, LaptopWatch to monitor such thefts from schools, hospitals and public bodies. It could have its own regulator, ‘Oflaptop’, tasked to take complaints but do more or less nothing about the problem amid mounting public concern.
There is a trend here – organisations owning up to losing laptops which contain important information. This is a welcome affliction that has spread from the US in recent months despite the fact that the UK has few rules that compel such disclosure. Admitting the theft of three within a week of them going missing has to be a record.
But would anyone steal a laptop worth $1 million, even without a vault of patient records? Unlikely. The second-hand market in $1 million laptops must be even smaller than the market for new ones.